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! 😁 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!)
- 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)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- Once all the mussels are opened, toss in the parsley and shake the pot one last time.
- 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.
- Don’t forget to provide a bowl for the empty shells.
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.