Our local supermarket had a special offer on fresh mussels yesterday – they were being sold for the bargain price of €1.50/kg. After a quick look to make sure they looked OK (weren’t too damaged and the shells were closed) two kilos of the mussels were bought. There was no doubt in my mind as to how we would be eating them with – white wine, shallots, garlic, parsley and cream – yup you’ve got it – Moules Marinières!
The last couple of times I have enjoyed eating mussels have been at village fêtes this summer. The first of the fêtes cooked the mussels in the classic Moules Marinières way, serving them with chips and was very tasty. However, it was the way they cooked them at the second fête which made me sit up and pay attention. They placed kilo upon kilo of mussels onto huge metal trays roughly 2m long and ½m wide and then scattered over a combination of garlic, parsley and seasoning. They next covered the mussels with newspaper before drenching them with water, covered the lot with straw, which was then set alight. By the time the straw had burnt away the mussels were cooked and they were beyond delicious! Over here in France this way of cooking the mussels is called, éclade de moules.
Whilst I would have loved to have made an éclade de moules yesterday I think it would have been a little bit risky given the ground is bone dry at the moment. So Moules Marinières it was and boy did it taste good with a nice glass of white wine and some crusty French Baguette!
- 2 kg mussels
- 10-12 shallots (finely sliced)
- 3 garlic cloves (minced)
- ½ a bottle of dry white wine
- large handful parsley (chopped)
- 80-100 ml single cream
1. Clean the mussels, removing any barnacles or beard. Discard any mussels that remain open when tapped sharply with a knife or have broken shells. [The pictures below show the cleaned shells (on the left) and a few of the discarded shells (on the right).]
2. Place the shallots and onions in a large saucepan with a little oil and cook until soft.
3. Once soft, get the pan really hot, test that it is hot enough by pouring in a little of the wine and it should boil straight off.
4. At this point add the mussels and the wine to the pan, cover with a lid and cook for 5-7 minutes, or until the mussels are open.
5. Add the cream and the parsley, stir well. Remove from the heat and serve with a crusty French loaf.