Moules Marinière (Mussels in White Wine)
This is a favourite of ours – so simple to make and so yummy! We were in Brittany earlier this year and saw the amazing mussel farms that supply France with this little delicacy. We enjoyed them prepared so many different ways, but this is my favourite.
4 lb. fresh, live mussels
3 tbsp. butter (optional but recommended)
3 tbsp. olive oil (or more, if you do not use the butter)
1 tsp. cayenne pepper flakes
4 large garlic cloves, minced
1/2 onion, chopped finely
juice of one lemon
1 bottle dry white wine (cheap is fine)
1 cup heavy cream (optional)
1/2 cup chopped parsley
pepper and salt
Baguettes, to sop up the liquid
Rinse mussels thoroughly and remove beards if necessary. Just pull them off. Pick them over and throw away ALL mussels whose shells are not tightly closed. Put closed mussels in bowl and set aside.
In a large pot, fry onion, garlic and cayenne in butter and/or olive oil until it is soft and starting to smell delicious. Add the lemon juice and the wine. Put the mussels into the pot and cover. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook for about 6-8 minutes until their shells are open.
Once they are cooked, remove mussels with a slotted spoon, and place in serving bowl. Turn heat up under liquid in pot and boil until it is reduced to half, or slightly less than half of its original volume. Add parsley (and cream, if using). If cream has been added, heat to simmering. Add pepper, and taste before adding salt – it will probably be salty enough. Pour this hot liquid over the mussels in the bowl.
To serve, scoop mussels into bowls, top with some of the liquid and eat using one half of the shell as a “spoon” to get the mussel off the other half of the shell. Serve with plenty of crusty baguettes on the side. Dunk the bread into the liquid, or just drink the liquid with a spoon like soup! Don’t forget to put out bowls for the used shells. Bon appétit! 😀