Moules Marinières

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Fish | Moules Marinieres

(French mussels in white wine sauce)

French for "mariner's mussels," moules marinières is a simple and classic way to prepare these affordable shellfish. It is important to choose only the freshest live mussels. And cook them the same day you buy them. In France, Belgium and the Netherlands, moules marinières are typically served with French fries (pommes frites) or sliced baguette and a good beer.

Image Creative Commons by cogito ergo imago

4 servings

Ingredients

  • Mussels in the shell -- 3 pounds
  • Olive oil -- 3 tablespoons
  • Onion, finely chopped -- 1
  • Garlic, minced -- 3 cloves
  • White wine -- 1 cup
  • Parsley, finely chopped -- 1/4 cup
  • Salt and pepper -- to season

Method

  1. Wash the mussels well under running water, scrubbing the shells. Pull out and discard any fibrous beards. Throw away any mussels with broken shells or that feel too heavy. They are probably full of mud.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium flame. Add the onions and garlic and sweat them in the oil until the onions are translucent but not browned, 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Add the mussels and pour in the wine. Bring to boil, then cover the pot tightly and steam 4 or 5 minutes, shaking the pot now and then.
  4. Remove the lid from the pot and throw away any mussels that haven't steamed open. Portion the mussels into serving bowls.
  5. Return the sauce to the flame, stir in parsley and season with salt and pepper. Pour the sauce over the mussels and serve hot with sliced baguette or pommes frites.

Variations

  • Add 2 or 3 minced shallots, a stalk of chopped celery or a spring of fresh thyme to saute with the onion and garlic.
  • Stir one seeded and chopped tomato into the sauce along with the parsley and cook for another 2 minutes or so.
  • For a richer sauce, stir 3 tablespoons of butter into the sauce at the end until it is melted.
  • Add a squeeze of lemon juice to the sauce at the end.
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