Cuisine à la bière – Salmon with a sauce of mussels, leek, cream and Leffe

Posted: March 7, 2012 in Uncategorized


I would think nearly everyone who has wielded a hot pan has at some time cooked with wine – a splash of white in a pasta sauce, or half a bottle of red in a hearty casserole. However, cooking with beer doesn’t seem to be so common in the UK.

Across the channel, it is a recognised style of cooking to the French and Belgians, people at the goegraphical meeting point of the passions for good food and fine beers. With that in mind, and Leffe on a good deal at one of our major supermarkets, I set out to cook some salmon in the Belgian style for supper.

Salmon fillets
Leffe Blonde
Creme Fraiche
Leek – the top green bits for preference
Garlic – a couple of cloves
Butter – a knob, plus a splash of good olive oil

Lightly brush salmon with oil and season well. Place in a hot oven (220C or so) to roast, for about 20 mins. Meanwhile, boil a few baby new potatoes and make a salad with whatever crisp leaves and veg you have in the fridge.

When the salmon is a few minutes away from finished, heat your butter and oil in a heavy bottomed frying pan, add garlic and leek and stir until softened, not browned. Add a handful of mussels, a ladle of fish stock (a dash of Thai fish sauce will do, actually) and about 200ml of Leffe beer. Reduce over a fierce heat.

Remove your salmon from the oven to rest, and warm your plates. Reduce the heat to the pan and stir in enough creme fraiche to make a sauce of a rich pouring consistency. When thoroughly warmed through, plate up – sauce, a couple of potatoes, salmon – and garnish with rocket, parsley or whatever comes to hand.

Serve with the dressed salad and a glass of the remaining beer. In my case I sat back to enjoy Barcelona demolish Leverkusen in the Champions League – but you may prefer some music, or some pleasant chat with whoever is lucky enough to share this lovely food with you 🙂


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