Ireland produces great beer and great seafood, so this is a perfect marriage!

"The beer to use for this is gueuze, a blend of young and old lambic beers that has a toastiness and decided acidity. Alternatively, the widely available Hoegaarden performs well". – Hugo Arnold

Yield: Serves :4

Ingredients

  • 1.5 tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 stick celery, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 500ml beer
  • 600g/1lbs mussels
  • 600g/1lbs clams
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped pancetta
  • 200ml/7fl oz double cream
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley

Method

  1. Melt one tablespoon of the butter in a saucepan large enough to accommodate the mussels and very gently sauté the onion and celery for 10 minutes, without colouring.
  2. Add the garlic and continue cooking for one minute, stirring all the time. Add the beer, mussels and clams, put the lid on and turn the heat up. Steam for five to 10 minutes, or until the shellfish is open. Don’t overdo it or the meat will end up being too dry.
  3. Remove from the heat and as soon as they are cool enough to handle, take off one half of each shell and discard. Reserve the half with the meat attached. Strain the liquid into a saucepan.
  4. Gently sauté the pancetta in the remaining butter for 10 minutes, add the cream and remove from the heat.
  5. Stir in the mustard and the egg yolk. Reheat the strained mussel liquor, remove from the heat and whisk into the bacon mixture.
  6. Check seasoning, add the parsley and pour over the mussels. Reheat gently, ensuring the liquid doesn’t boil or it will separate, and serve.

Tip: Good double cream is a luxury worth seeking out and there are a growing band of Irish milk producers making their own on a small scale. Worth supporting.