I apologise if that is bad French! I'm half French, yet those prepositions and contractions still confuse me!
Anyway...after a wonderful trip to the seaside in France a couple of weeks ago, my sister and I decided that we could definitely make our own Moules Marinière and we definitely didn't need to fall into the tourist trap and pay for a ridiculously overpriced meal. We hastily and over-excitedly bought 2 kilos of local and very fresh mussels. That is an awful lot of moules for 3 people, but I didn't really know how to get the fishmonger's attention and get him to stop filling the bag!
Both my sister and I assumed that the other was a dab hand at preparing this particular meal. We get home:
"So, what do we do?"
"What?! I don't know, I thought you knew!"
Uh oh. We scoured the shelves and found a couple of old French recipe books. Neither of which contained the right instructions. We've both eaten moules marinière a few times in our lives so we just decided to take a stab at it! And it turned out pretty tasty, so I thought I'd share what we did here in case anyone else finds themselves in a similar situation.
This 'recette' is for 2 kilos of mussels. This could easily feed 4 - 6 people.
2 kg of clean Mussels
6 bulbs of some spring onions we'd used in a salad the day before - or try shallots, chopped
4 gloves of garlic, finely chopped
1.5 glasses of white wine - make sure it's a tasty one so you can enjoy a few glasses with your meal. Or drink the whole lot whilst cooking and find something else suitable for dinner. Of course we didn't do that.
A couple of large knobs of butter
A splash of olive oil
A large handful of fresh parsley, roughly chopped
A pinch of salt and pepper
A load of potatoes chopped up into chips
We suspect that at some point your supposed to put some cream in. However a) we didn't have any cream, and b) we weren't sure when to put it in. So we decided to omit it.
Before tackling the mussels, my sister used a deep fat fryer to start the chips. On a medium heat deep fry the chips for about 6 minutes. Remove from fryer and set aside. Then turn up the heat as much as possible. While the oil is heating up prepare the mussels.
1. Find a saucepan large enough for your mussels. Splash oil in pan, add butter, and place over a medium heat.
2. Once butter has started to melt chuck in chopped onions/shallots and garlic and allow to soften, moving it about with a wooden spoon occasionally to prevent sticking and burning. Make sure your pan doesn't get to hot.
3. When the onions and garlic are nice and soft place all the mussels in the pan. Throw over the wine, some salt and pepper, turn up the heat a bit and put the lid on.
4. Leave the mussels to steam for about 5 minutes. When the mussels have opened remove from the heat. We were fortunate enough to have a glass topped pan so we could judge by our eyes rather than time, but I reckon 5 minutes will do it.
5. Now carefully put the chips back in the fryer for another 3 minutes.
6. Sprinkle the parsley over the mussels, give it a stir and then place the contents of the pan in a lovely serving dish. And serve.
7. Remove the chips from the fryer, give them a good shake. And serve.
Et voilà! Bon appétit! They were wonderful - you could tell they were fresh and hadn't travelled far. None of that weird chewiness where you resort to an open-jawed, no biting, weak smile to convey delight and maturity of your taste buds!