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Moules Marinière

Moules Marinière (Moules = Mussels and Marinière being any shellfish cooked in white wine with onions and herbs) is the classic French mussel dish and the most common recipe used in restaurants nowadays. As it turns out, I live not far from the coast, so mussels are plentiful and fresh at local markets... but in the 6 years I've been living here, I've never tried cooking them! Always had them at Michèle and Patrick's place on Sunday's when it's the season. Guess what? It's mussel season now!:-D With the firm intention of not sparing any existing ingredient the fate of going through my kitchen, I've finally given them a try.

But a word of warning first: mussels, like any shellfish, needs to be bought very fresh, and cooked right away. Bad stuff (the sort that keeps you longer than you'd like in the bathroom) can also happens if you don't cook them enough. If after having cooked them properly, some still aren't opened, this might be a sign that the mussel you are about to eat is not really fresh (but then, sometimes they are just fine... it's a food full of surprises!)

Moules Marinière
  • 4 kg mussels (approximately)
  • 100 ml white wine (dry)
  • 1 onion (chopped)
  • 4 shallots (finely chopped)
  • 150 g salted butter (cut into cubes)
  • 1 spoonful parsley (chopped)
  • pepper
  1. Wash the mussels under cold, running water. Pull out any fibrous beard and scrape off any barnacles with a knife. Discard any open ones that do not close when tapped or those with broken shells. Put the cleaned ones aside in a strainer to drain off water.
  2. Put the mussels in a big pot, pour in the wine, chopped onions, shallots, pepper and cubed butter. Cover it with a lid and cook it under high heat.
  3. Shake the pot every now and then so that the mussels are well mixed with the sauce (avoid stirring it with a spatula: it will squash the mussels).
  4. Once all the mussels are opened, toss in the parsley and shake the pot one last time.
  5. Serve it immediately in a soup plate with a spoonful or two of the wine sauce over it and French fries on the side. Enjoy it with a glass of white wine.
  6. Don't forget to provide a bowl for the empty shells.;-)
The Verdict

Mmm...delicious and excellent. Tastes just like the ones done at Patrick's home and in any restaurants. The sweet and tasty aroma of mussels cooked in wine and onions ... *happy sigh*. I love mopping up the sauce with some of my baguette. And since I live in the region famous for making muscadet, I of course cook my mussels in it and finish the rest of the bottle along with my mussels:-) What more can I ask for - excellent food and wine.


You can leave out the parsley if you don't like it and it will still taste as good.

If the fresh mussels are not going into the pot immediately, they can be stored in the refrigerator for 1 to 3 days depending on how fresh they are. Take them out of their plastic bag and put them in a colander with a larger bowl underneath to catch any dripping water (this is to avoid them from soaking in the water) and to allow air to circulate. Keep them moist by covering the mussels with a damp towel and store them in the coolest corner of your refrigerator. Never put fresh shellfish in water or in an air-tight container as they would suffocate and die.

Moules Marinières
#1, by Fénix (Bostonscapes) (09/24/2007)

My favorite mussel recipe! Great looking ones on that dish, Pamela. They must've tasted out of this world.

#2, by Peter (09/24/2007)

I love mussels and I think they are tastier than more expensive clams. Try adding some tarragon and dip in!

#3, by Judy (09/24/2007)

Ooooh, moules!!! My kids' favourite. I normally get about 5 kgs when I am at Calais. You are so blessed to be able to get lovely mussels in France!

#4, by Anh (09/24/2007)

I love mussels! And your recipe is simply fabulous!

#5, by Kelly Mahoney (09/25/2007)

Great photos, the dish looks beautiful. I've never had this dish, but my household was never too big on seafood. This looks like an impressive meal for company, too.

#6, by Lydia (09/25/2007)

Ah, the classic treatment for mussels -- there is nothing better. I'm always nervous about keeping shellfish in the fridge, so I cook mussels the same day I bring them home.

#7, by valentinA (09/25/2007)

Great recipe about mussels! It sounds perfect!

#8, by Lori (09/25/2007)

This is one of my absolute favorite meals. I LOVE mussels. I'll have to try your recipte.

#9, by aria (09/26/2007)

those look heavenly. as much as i order mussels out, i never make them ether. you make it look so simple. dare i say i'm officially inspired - YUM!!!!

#10, by Cynthia (09/26/2007)

I've never eaten mussels of clams before.

#11, by Amy (09/26/2007)

This is truly one of the best ways to enjoy mussels. It looks fantastic!

#12, by IronEaters (09/26/2007)

i love mussels. esp when they are being cooked with white wine n cream. then u can jt dip some toasted bread into the broth,and eating them with the mussels. heaven. =)

#13, by Tummythoz (09/26/2007)

Not a fan of mussels so hopefully using other clams will turn out as good! Maybe crabs ..

#14, by wokandspoon (09/26/2007)

This is my favourite way of making and eating moules! Perfect with big fat chips! Lovely! yumyum!

#15, by tigerfish (09/26/2007)

Living near the coast with plenty of fresh mussels....sounds like you are the real lucky girl:-D
Love mussels cooked in white wine, garlic, herbs and sometimes chopped tomatoes.

#16, by keeyit (09/28/2007)

The mussels that I had before was so different as what you post at your pictures. Especially the last picture. How come the color of the shells looks dark purple. I have never come across this.. This is the beauty of the nature. Right ?

#17, by lynn (09/29/2007)

I've never had mussels but you make them sound delicious!

#18, by Tyree White (09/29/2007)

Hey, just have to skip the hard shell type of food. tyree white

#19, by The Cooking Ninja (09/29/2007)

Thanks for all your lovely complements.

@Fénix: They do.

@Peter: Thanks for the tips. Will try it out next time:-)

@Judy: Soon I won't be able to enjoy this treat as I will be moving away from the coastal area.

Kelly: You should try it. It's not as difficult as I thought it would be. Just dump everything into the pot and jiggle the pot now and then. That's it. Washing the mussels aren't that difficult too.:-)

@aria: It's really that simple as it looks:-D

@Cynthia: You should try it one day.:-)

@Tummythoz: I don't know if it goes well with crab or not. Have never tried it out.:-)

@wokandspoon: oh yes, it's delicious with those chips.

@keeyit: erhm...I haven't noticed the colour - too busy eating them hehehe. Guess I got used to seeing these around here that I never noticed it's different.

@lynn: I was not a big fan of mussels before but was converted when I had mussels in this sauce.

#20, by Jackie at PhamFatale.com (10/07/2009)

Perfect dish! I love moules-frites (French fries), just like in Belgium

#21, by Cate (10/07/2009)

I just cannot get enough of these! I prefer them with a chunk of bread instead of French fries, but they're delicious all the same.

#22, by diva (01/20/2010)

gotta love moules. one of my fav seafood dishes! last had it in this pub in Kent famous for their moules and i got it served with chorizo and lots of chorizo-flavoured broth. This looks delicious Pam! u made me wish i had some moules now. x