Mussels Steamed in Beer with Garlic and Tomatoes

DSCF8851We wanted to get more paua this weekend, but the wind caused really bad visibility on the east coast. It was great for surfers, but bad for divers and snorkelers  We however got plenty of fresh mussels as a fall back option. It’s so satisfying getting a meal freshly from the sea!

This is a really simple way to enjoy mussels, which I also made when we were camping in Golden Bay over our new year holiday. Pipis and cockles can also be enjoyed the same way, except they are dug out from sandy beaches at low tide, whereas mussels are picked from rocks.


  • Roughly 3L bucket of mussels (legal limit is 50/person/day if you are picking them yourselves), soaked in water for at least 6 hours for the shellfish to spit out the sand (same for cockles and pipis)
  • 4 fat cloves of garlic, bruised and roughly chopped
  • 2 large ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 150ml blond beer
  • A good dash of olive oil


  1. Put a good dash of olive oil into a heavy bottomed pot large enough to take all the mussels.
  2. Add garlic and fry over high heat until they start to color.
  3. Add tomatoes then tip in all the mussels, followed by the beer.
  4. Cover with a lid and give the pot a good shake every few minutes.
  5. Keep checking on the mussels and remove the lid once you start to see some mussels opening a slit.
  6. Remove mussels to a separate serving dish as they open until all of them are opened. If there are any that refuse to open after a good while, discard these.
  7. Pour the cooking juice in the pot along with garlic and tomatoes over the mussels and serve.

It’s wonderful enjoyed with some crusty bread, pesto pasta and salads.


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