Saturday, September 28, 2013

Moules Mariniere - Blue Mussels - Blue Monday

Blue Mussels

This photo courtesy of Andreas Trepte

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...This lovely dish is another that comes from the French peasant kitchen and it is one for which I have a special fondness. Julia Child introduced Bob and I to moules mariniere the year our eldest daughter was born. At that time mussels had no cache and could only be found in ethnic markets where they sold for pennies on the dollar. The first time I made this dish I bought three pounds of mussels for a dollar. That same quantity cost fifteen dollars this afternoon. Once the mussels have been cleaned and purged of sand, the dish can be on the table in ten minutes. Fortunately, most of the mussels available in the supermarket today are farmed and not harvested in the wild. That makes the task of cleaning them much easier. Farmed mussels need to be scrubbed before being debearded and set to soak. The "beard" is the fibrous hairy thing hanging from one side of the shell. Pull it off with a side-to-side motion. Most experts recommend soaking mussels for about an hour to assure they will disgorge their sand. Should you have wild mussels, add 1/4 cup of flour to a container of salted water and allow the mussels to soak for two to three hours before cooking. The thought here is that the mussels will eat the flour and purge themselves of debris, as well as plump up. Discard any mussels that refuse to close when pressed. Nowadays, it's also important to know where your mussels have come from. Be sure to ask. I use a really good dry French vermouth to make this dish. There are three that I can recommend to you. My preference is Dolin, but Lille and Noilly Prat also work well. This makes for a lovely light supper. I served ours with a romaine and watercress salad and a crusty baguette to help mop up the sauce. Our meal ended with a warm lemon pudding. I do hope you'll give this recipe a try. You won't regret it. Here's how I make moules mariniere. Bon appetit.

Moules Mariniere...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite


3 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup finely minced shallots

1 minced garlic clove

1/2 cup dry white French vermouth or 1 cup dry white wine

1/2 bay leaf

1/4 teaspoon thyme

1/8 teaspoon pepper

3 pounds scrubbed, soaked mussels

1/4 cup coarsely chopped flat leaf parsley


1) Melt butter in a 6 to 8-quart stockpot set over medium heat. Add shallots and garlic and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add vermouth or wine and stir in bay leaf, thyme and pepper. Bring to a boil and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes.

2) Add mussels to pan. Cover and boil over high heat for 5 minutes, shaking pan occasionally to redistribute mussels and assure even cooking.

3) Transfer mussels to a large serving bowl or to shallow soup bowls. Ladle cooking liquid over mussels, sprinkle with parsley and serve hot. Yield: 4 servings.

This recipe was featured in the Food News Journal Best of the Bogs feature on August 2, 2010.

You might also enjoy these recipes:

Coconut Curry Mussels - Simply Recipes

Cedar Planked Mussels - Steamy Kitchen

Steamed Mussels with Coconut Milk and Thai Chiles - Food and Wine

Mussels in Red Chili Sauce - Rasamalaysia

Salmon Soup with Tomato and Dill - One Perfect Bite

Spring Salmon and Leek Soup - One Perfect Bite

Salmon Chowder - One Perfect Bite

This post is being linked to:

Smiling Sally - Blue Monday

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