New Year’s Recipes: Mussels and Champagne

Dec 31, 2008 at 7:03 a.m. ET

Everyone knows oysters and Champagne pair impeccably well but a more economical choice for your New Year's Eve party is mussels paired with your glass of bubbly. You can make a large amount of steamed mussels and pair them with a good bottle of Champagne or even steam your mussels with the Champagne! Either way, partnering bubbly and shellfish is a great way to ring in the New Year as well as impress guests at your dinner parties year round.

Mussels and Champagne

How to pair mussels and Champagne

Most Champagne has a bright bubbly characteristic that has an exquisite affinity for slightly salty and very rich, luscious dishes.

The acidity in the Champagne pairs perfectly with the delicate salty flavor of steamed mussels. For the best Champagne and mussels experience, serve the very chilled Champagne with a piping hot bowl of steamed mussels and crusty bread for dipping.

The best Champagne for New Year's Eve

A light and dry blanc de blancs Champagne, such as Billecart Salmon Blanc de Blancs ($35), is the best bubbly for mussels.

When cooking with Champagne choose a more robust classic brut, such as Iron Horse Green Valley Classic Vintage Brut ($30), which has a hint of citrus and yeast.

Regardless of the Champagne you choose, just remember the most important tip, when cooking with Champagne, always have a little glass on the side for the cook! Happy New Year!

New Year's Recipes

Champagne Mussels

Makes 4 servings

2 carrots, diced
1 onion, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
4 garlic cloves, diced
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper to taste
2 to 3 cups Champagne (or white wine)
2-1/2 pounds mussels, rinsed and cleaned
Finely chopped parsley to taste

1. Combine all vegetables, garlic, bay leaf, salt and pepper, and Champagne to a large pot over medium heat. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.

2. Add mussels to pot and cover. Continue simmering until all mussels are open, about 5 minutes. Throw away mussels that don't open. Serve with crusty bread with plenty of mussel broth from the pot.

Champagne Cream Mussels

Makes 6 servings

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1 cup chopped fresh fennel bulb
2 shallots, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
1-1/2 cups Champagne (or white wine)
1/2 cup whipping cream
3 pounds mussels, rinsed and cleaned

1. Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add fennel, shallots, garlic and fennel seeds. Cook about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2. Add Champagne and cream and boil about 10 minutes or until mixture becomes thick. Add mussels and cover. Cook about 5 minutes or until mussels open. Throw away unopened mussels. Serve with plenty of broth.

Champagne and Saffron Mussels

Makes 2 servings

1 tablespoon butter
1/4 to 1/2 cup finely chopped shallots
1 cup Champagne
A few pinches of saffron threads or 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon Ground saffron
3 pounds mussels, rinsed and cleaned

1. Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add shallots and cook a few minutes. Add Champagne and saffron and bring to a boil, cook for 5 minutes.

2. Add mussels and cook about 5 minutes or until all mussels open. Throw away any unopened mussels. Serve with crusty bread and plenty of broth. 

More delicious ways to ring in the New Year

New Year's appetizer trends: Pate recipes
Holiday wine and champagne
Champagne wishes and caviar dreams
New Year's Eve cocktails