This is a 10-minute, absolutely foolproof and simply the best mussels recipe I know. Moules à la marinière, as its name suggests it, are a French recipe, served in many traditional restaurants, usually with chips. Apparently the French are the biggest mussels consumers in the world (they buy as much as 80 000 tons of mussels per year!). “Marinière” is the method of cooking shellfish in onions or shallots and white wine.
Handling mussels is not difficult, but there are two very important rules to follow. All the uncooked mussels, rinsed under very cold water, but open should be thrown away. Afterwards, all the cooked, but closed mussels should be discarded too. And, of course reversing the two rules could have serious consequences…
I always try to buy the mussels which, in majority, ale closed (this means they are stored at low temperature). Then either I bring them home very quickly and put them in the fridge, or I transport them in a thermal bag. Just a couple of minutes before being cooked the mussels should be rinsed in very cold water, all the seaweed removed (but most mussels are sold already cleaned). At this point the open ones should be discarded.
My recipe comes from the very classical French cookery book “Petit Larousse de la cuisine“.
Preparation: 10 minutes
Ingredients (serves 4):
3-4 litres mussels
1 big onion (or a second shallot)
1 shallot (or a second, smaller onion)
1 bunch chopped parsley
30 g butter
2-3 dl white dry wine
1 branch thyme (or 1 tablespoon thyme leaves)
1/2 bay leaf (or 1 small bay leaf)
Chop the oignon and the shallot.
Rinse and clean the mussels in very cold water. Remove the open ones.
Melt the butter in a big, shallow pan or in a wok. Add the onion and the shallot and fry them 1 or two minutes.
Add the mussels and all the remaining ingredients. Cook over a very high heat, stirring and shaking the pan several times. After around 6 minutes, when all or practically all the mussels are open. Put them aside, remove the bay leaf and the thyme branch (unless you used only thyme leaves) and serve them in big bowls. Pour the cooking liquid over the mussels, dividing it equally among the bowls.
Serve them alone or with chips.