Anchor Steam beer braised mussels

January 5, 2009 4:24:31 PM PST
The secrets to a signature dish from San Francisco's historic restaurant -- Cliff House.

Anchor Steam Beer Braised Mussels
Chef Brian O'Connor, Sutro's at the Cliff House


12 Mussels
2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
2 Tablespoons Chive Batons
2 Tablespoons Canola or Grape Seed Oil
1 Tablespoon Garlic
½ Cup Anchor Steam Beer
1 Onion Caramelized
Salt & Pepper to Taste
2 Tablespoons Harissa

Heat a medium sized sauté or sauce pan and place 2 tablespoons of butter and oil into the pan. Cook the butter and oil until butter is melted and hot?add garlic and toast for a minute or until it is golden brown?add mussels and sauté until the mussels start to open?deglaze the pan with the Anchor Steam Beer and add the caramelized onions?cook until all of the mussels have opened and then add the harissa?plate the mussels in a deep bowl and continue to reduce the sauce to a soup consistency and season to taste?add the sauce and garnish with chive batons and grilled rustic bread?

Harissa for Mussels


1 Carrot
5 Garlic Cloves
2 Shallots
1 Jalapeno
1 Red Bell Pepper
1 Yellow Bell Pepper
1 Ribs of Celery

Grill all of these ingredients until slightly charred on the outside and chop them small

1 Tablespoon Coriander Seed
1 Tablespoon Cardamom Seed
1 Tablespoon Caraway Seed
1 Tablespoon Cumin Seed
4 Tablespoons Paprika
2 Tablespoons Chili Flake

Add the spices to the vegetable mix and puree until smooth.

George Morrone, Executive Chef
For more than two decades, diners and critics have heralded George Morrone as one of the most creative and accomplished chefs in the country. Now, Morrone, who has twice garnered four-stars at the helm of Bay Area restaurants, has a new, dramatic backdrop to showcase his refined, contemporary cuisine.

In December 2008, he was named chef de cuisine of Sutro's at the historic Cliff House in San Francisco. Perched on a craggy bluff overlooking the crashing waves of Ocean Beach, the restaurant's picturesque locale provides the ultimate setting for Morrone's local, seasonally driven dishes created with flair and whimsy. Think "modern French with a twist.'' His food is marked by classical technique married with a playful sensibility. At Sutro's he will merge this philosophy with the restaurant's style of New American cuisine that emphasizes seafood.

San Francisco Magazine's "Chef of the Year'' in 2002, Morrone has been featured in the PBS series, "Great Chefs.''

His beginnings were far more humble. A New Jersey native, he started working at a bakery in high school. He then enrolled at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY.

After graduating in 1983, he spent three years at New York's acclaimed River Café, before renowned Chef Bradley Ogden recruited him to be executive sous chef at Campton Place in San Francisco. Morrone's first stint as executive chef came at the Hotel Bel-Air in Los Angeles. For three years there, he made sure everyone from A-list celebrities and dignitaries to high-society mavens and tourists alike ate well, and left wanting to return again and again.

Morrone eventually returned to San Francisco to open Aqua, with friend and partner Michael Mina. As co-owner and chef there, he earned a four-star review for his innovative seafood creations.

After Aqua, Morrone moved on to other projects -- including reuniting with Ogden at One Market Restaurant- before helping to create the Fifth Floor restaurant, which opened to acclaim with another four-star review. In 2001, Morrone left to open Redwood Park with his former partner, Mina.

Throughout his career, travel has played a key role in his development and inspiration. Morrone spent a year in France eating and acquainting himself with the best of the country's contemporary cooking. In 2003, he traveled to Australia to help longtime friend, esteemed Chef Mark Miller, open his new venture, Wild Fire. The 300-seat "restaurant as theater'' establishment, which serves about 450 meals a night, quickly became Sydney's hottest destination dining room.

Morrone's time in Australia opened his eyes to unique ingredients such as finger limes, a tart citrus composed of crunchy pearls. He also grew enthralled with the tremendous influence of Bali on the culture and cuisine of Australia. Morrone brought some of those exotic ingredients, techniques, and influences back with him to further fuel his creativity in dishes such as his ostrich tartare.

For five years, Morrone also traveled around the world with other renowned chefs on five-day tours, cooking in such far-flung places as Moscow, Jerusalem, and Buenos Aires. During these tours he worked side-by-side with his most important mentor, Jean-Louis Palladin.

"From Jean-Louis, I simply got a sense of perfection. He never settled; if it wasn't perfect, he wouldn't serve it. He wouldn't hesitate to make diners wait rather than serve anything not completely up to his standards," he says. "The end result was always amazing."

Palladin paid him the greatest compliment of his career, Morrone says, when he told him that if Morrone was cooking in Europe he surely would have earned two Michelin stars.

Morrone, in turn, mentors those in his own kitchen. "If cooks get me, they tend to stay around," says Morrone, who places a high value on investing time and energy in developing staff. "The best way to manage people is to gain their respect. I demand a lot from my staff, but I am always ready to share my knowledge and explain why."