2 pounds mussels in shells
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 full sprigs of thyme
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 large shallots, chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup good ale
1 to 3 tablespoons butter, to taste
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon or parsley
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Crusty bread, for serving
In a soup pot with a tight-fitting cover, heat olive oil, then add thyme, garlic, shallots and a pinch of salt and pepper. Saut? until shallots and garlic are softened, 3 minutes. Pour in ale and bring to a simmer. Add mussels and cover pot. Let mussels steam, stirring once or twice, until they open, 5 to 10 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer mussels to bowls. Discard any that have not opened.
Add butter, herbs and mustard to pan juices and bring to a boil. Whisk until butter melts, then taste and correct seasonings (add more butter if liquid tastes bitter). Pour over mussels and serve with bread for sopping up juices.