Moules marinières...

This is one of my favourites. I remember first time when I ate moules... It was on my honeymoon in France, Brittany (beautiful, little town of Auray). My and my Hubby went for a lunch to a local restaurant (which was actually was more like a bistro). He had oysters for starter and a steak for main. I had a salad for starter and... big bowl of mussels for main! It came in a very nice pot. You had to turn the lid up side down and it became a 'plate' for shells - what a handy idea! :) I couldn't eat enough... Cleaned the whole lot! Crème brûlée followed for the dessert.
Recently I made this beautiful dish myself - which wasn't that difficult. The biggest task was with the mussels - clean them, debeard etc. That took a while. So my advice - buy already cleaned ones, though it may cost you more, so the choice is yours. I love moules marinières with fresh baguette, which I then use to eat the lovely juices left on the plate...
This particular recipe is by one and only Monsieur Raymond Blanc.

How to make it...

- 1.8 kg mussels
- 100 ml dry white wine
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 small onion, very finely chopped
- 4 fresh bay leaves
- 8 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 tablespoon whipping cream
- 3 tablespoon chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

Wash the mussels under cold running water in a sink, removing any beards and barnacles. Do not scrub the shells as the colour will transfer during cooking giving an unappetising grey colour to the dish. Discard any mussels that float or remain open when tapped against the side of the sink.
Boil the wine in a small saucepan for 30 seconds then set aside. (This is to remove the harsh taste of the alcohol and leave only the fruity acidity of the wine.)
Melt the butter in a large saucepan over a high heat, then add the onion, bay leaves and thyme. Stir for 10 seconds, then add the wine and bring to a boil.

Add the mussels, cover with a lid and cook for 2-3 minutes or until the mussels open. (Discard any mussels that do not open.)
Add the whipping cream and parsley and stir well. No seasoning is required as the mussels will release a little salt water when they open, which is enough to season the dish perfectly.
Serve the mussels in a large warmed serving dish or four soup plates. Give your guests finger bowls and plenty of good-quality French bread to mop up the juices.


Moules Mariniere