Sunday, 9 September 2012

Moules Mariniere

 I finally gave in and made my husband his favourite ever meal, Moules Mariniere. I usually try and leave it as long as possible so that he has time to forget how much he loves them, other wise we would be eating them three times a week. This would not be a problem because I love mussels, they are one of my favourite shellfish to eat, the only problem with feeding them to my husband is that he will only eat them one way, the french style old school way, I sometimes wonder if he has mussel induced moulephobia, a fear of new mussels.
 I digress, what is there not to love about these marvellous mollusc's. The most wonderful thing about mussels is that though  they are often regarded as the "poor mans shellfish" they have more flavour than most mollusc's and are fantastically cheap, very easy to cook and no cutlery is required, armed with a baguette and a mussel shell you can munch away to your hearts content. What is more satisfying than eating a meal using one of gods spoons.

You will need:
1 kg of Mussels
2 large finely chopped shallots
a small bunch of tarragon finely chopped
a small bunch of parsley finely chopped
a small bunch of chives finely chopped
50g of butter
7 cloves of garlic finely chopped
170ml of good dry white wine
2 tsp of salt
1 tsp of honey Dijon mustard
1 tsp of honey
1 tsp of cracked black pepper
4 tablespoons of really good creme fraiche

The very first thing you must do is clean your mussels, this means scraping off any barnacles, removing the beards and purging the muscles of any grit. You do this by placing the mussels in a large bowl of water with a little flour mixed in, the mussels drink the flour and purge any grit they may have. Some people would have you believe that if the mussel does not close you should discard it, well I'm going to put it out there that this is completely false, it is only when the mussel is cooked and remains closed you should discard it. I heard this from Rick Stein and if it is good enough for Seafood expert Ricky, it's good enough for me. Scrape off any barnacles with a knife and simply pull the beards away from the shell.

In a large sauce pan fry the butter and shallots on high. When the shallots are translucent throw in the garlic, allow this to cook for a minute so that the rawness of the garlic is mellowed. Add the drained and cleaned mussels and white wine, give them a quick stir and clamp on the lid for 5-7 minutes, or until all the shells have opened. Turn off the heat and add the herbs, creme fraiche, mustard honey, pepper and half of the salt, taste to see if the mussels require any more salt, if so add the remaining teaspoon. Stir well and serve with crusty baguette and really good frites.

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