When the Belgian mussel craze hit the U.S., Michael Roper’s Hopleaf helped lead the way. No where in Chicago could you find a more perfect bowl of savory bivalves, accompanied with warm, crusty bread for dippin’.
Since I no longer live in walking distance of the Hopleaf, I had to learn how to make these must-have mollusks myself. This recipe, adapted from Michael Roper’s, is easy, economical, and a magnificent comfort food for the long, winter months.
Heat oil over medium-high heat in a Dutch oven; add shallots and celery. Cook until softened, approximately 5 minutes.
Add mussels, beer, thyme, bay leaf, butter, salt, and pepper to taste.
Cover and cook until mussels open, approximately 5 minutes; move pan frequently and uncover infrequently.
Discard unopened mussels. Serve individually or communally, alongside Belgian beer and warm, crusty bread. Serves 4.