Because we feel so conflicted about seafood, we don't eat a lot of it. But there are a few maritime creatures we feel good about eating. Oysters, for one - but there's another bivalve that tugs at our heart... mussels! Particularly mussels steamed à la Julia with white wine, shallots and parsley. So the other night, tired of our usual chops, roasts, pasta sauces, and grains, we decided to take a stab at the bistro classic.
We picked up some mussels from PE&DD Seafood at the market, a few fresh herbs, some shallots and - equally important as the shellfish - potatoes to attempt some french fries. As it turns out, Moules â la Marinière is a super fast and easy dish to make. By far, the hardest and most-time consuming part is scrubbing the mussels clean, which we were maaaaybe not quite patient enough for. So if you have never cooked mussels before, we suggest reading up on how to clean them and sort them before you dive in.
But once you've thoroughly cleaned the mussels, there is little else to do. After a little chopping, and some quick steaming you have a beautiful, filling, and incredibly healthy meal. Just add bread, pommes frites, and a nice Muscadet. Bon appetit!
From Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child
+ 2 cups of light, dry white wine
+ ½ cup minced shallots
+ 8 parsley sprigs
+ 1 bay leaf
+ 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
+ 1/8 tsp pepper
+ 6 tbsp butter
+ 6 quarts scrubbed, soaked mussels
+ ½ cup roughly chopped parsley
1. Bring the wine to boil in a large pot with the rest of the ingredients. Boil for 2 to 3 minutes to cook off the alcohol and reduce its volume slightly.
2. Add the mussels. Cover tightly and boil over high heat.
3. Frequently take the pot with both hands, holding the cover clamped, and toss the mussels in the kettle with an up and down slightly jerky motion so the mussels will change levels and cook evenly.
4. In about 5 minutes the shells will swing open and the mussels are done.
5. Fish the mussels out of the pot and place in wide soup plates. Allow the cooking liquid to settle for a moment so any sand will sink to the bottom. Then ladle the liquid over the mussels, sprinkle with more parsley and serve immediately.