Now the summer is over it is time to eat mussels again but where do you start or who do you look to as an authority for the perfect Moules marinières recipe? My shelves are groaning with cookery books by experts on classical French Cuisine and seafood cookery. Well every author is different in their interpretation and so here I guess is the rub, it is time to experiment and find out if you prefer onion to shallots? What type of white wine do you prefer? And most controversially do you add cream, mayonnaise or crème Fraiche? Well, I don’t add cream to my classic Moules marinières the butter is enough to make the cooking liquids really luxurious.
Classic Moules Marinières serves 4
Allow 500 gr to 750 gr of mussels per person for a generous portion. To prepare your mussels first rinse them in plenty of cold running water and throw away any mussels with cracked or broken shells. Give any open mussels a quick squeeze, if they do not close immediately, throw away as well as they are dead and not to be eaten. Then using a small knife scrape the shell to remove any barnacles or dirt and pull out any beards by tugging towards the hinge of the mussel shell. If you intend to cook later that day, store in a plastic container in the bottom of your refrigerator covered with a damp tea towel.
1.5 kg of prepared Mussels
3 large ( Banana ) Shallots, peeled and very finely chopped
100 gr Alderney Butter
4 cloves of Garlic, peeled and very finely chopped
A very generous sprig of fresh Thyme
A bay leaf
A large glass ( 325 ml ) of good quality dry White Wine
A small bunch of flat-leaf parsley, washed and finely chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
Plenty of warm crusty bread
Heat half the butter in a large heavy-bottomed pan and add the shallots, garlic, bay leaf and picked thyme leaves. Soften for five minutes without colouring then pour in the wine and bring up to the boil. Simmer for a further five minutes before turning up the heat to high. Tip the mussels into the pan and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Steam for three minutes until the mussels have all started to open and remove from the heat. Add the remaining butter and the parsley, replace the lid and put back on the heat for thirty seconds shaking the pan well to distribute the parsley. Season with freshly ground black pepper and serve immediately, removing any mussels which have remained closed.