Moules Marinière

Moules Marinière – An Ode To Marseille

The Good Greeff-     Marseille mussels with parsley and crusty bread
Creamy Marseille Mussels, with a cream and white wine sauce, crusty bread and Leffe Brune

There are few things as moreish as freshly baked, crusty bread dipped in the creamy wine sauce rendered by steamed mussels.

Reminiscing about our last visit to France, we decided to emulate our Marseille-mussels experience back home- Inclusive of the drinks we had that day!

The mussels served in Marseille usually comes standard with both fries and chunky slices of French baguette. (The frites in moules frites would be the fries typically served with mussels in France and Belgium)  As the potato fries absorb less of the flavourful sauce, we opted to serve this dish with a fresh baguette only. As a result, our Moules Frites became Moules Marinière. Or as we like to call it, Marseille Mussels.

Serves 2

Cooking Time: 25 minutes

Preparation Time: 5 minutes (excluding cleaning the mussels)

Ingredients

  • 1 kg fresh mussels
  • 200 ml dry white wine
  • 200 ml fresh cream
  • 2 shallots- finely chopped or grated
  • 2 cloves of garlic- finely chopped or grated
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 1 fresh, crusty French loaf
  • 1 cup roughly chopped parsley for garnish
  • Optional: 1 lemon for garnish, sliced in wedges

Make sure your mussels are clean:

  • In a colander, rinse mussels under clean water.
  • Check for dead mussels: if you find open mussels, they may be dead (ie. you do NOT want to eat them). Squeezing them closed a couple of times or gently knocking them against another mussel should cause them to slowly close. If a mussel does not close, discard it.
  • Submerge mussels in clean tap water, and leave them to soak for 20 minutes.
  • filtering the clean water will allow the mussels to push out sand and grit.
  • Remove the beards by pulling the brown hairs downwards towards the hinged-end of the mussel shell. Remove the beards completely and discard.
  • Remove the mussels from the water by hand or use a slotted spoon to avoid picking up any sand or grit in the bottom of the bowl.
  • Using a brush or steel wool, scrub away any substance or debris from the shell, and rinse under running water.
  • Pat dry and set aside.

Method

  • Place mussels in a pot, with the white wine, and turn up the heat for 2 minutes. With the lid closed, turn the heat down and steam the mussels for another 5-6 minutes until the mussels are open.
  • Once the mussels have opened, pour the contents of the pot through a colander and catch the cooking liquid.
  • Check for unopened mussels and discard. If a mussel is completely shut, it is likely dead and should not be consumed.
  • Keep the cooked mussels aside and return the cooking liquid to the pot. Take care to keep some of the liquid behind, as the grit and sand remaining in the mussels should have sunk to the bottom of the cooking liquid. Discard the last bit of liquid containing the sand and grit.
  • Simmer the cooking liquid on medium heat and add the minced shallots and garlic.
  • Reduce the liquid by half and mix in the cream and butter.
  • Return the mussels to the pot, and heat through.
  • Garnish with parsley and lemon wedges, and serve immediately.
  • Serve your mussels with a side of crusty French bread.

Use a seafood fork and spoon to remove the meat from the shells, or in true French tradition, use an empty mussel shell to spoon the meat out of the mussel shell. Dip the meat into the sauce before eating. The used mussel shells go into a separate container. Now dunk your crusty, fresh bread into the creamy broth. Yum yum.

The Good Greeff-      Marseille mussels with crusty bread
Creamy Marseille mussels with cream and white wine sauce, served with a fresh crusty bread

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