If I’m not sure what to make for dinner and I go to the store to figure it out, when I see mussels for sale I know the answer. I find them so versatile and easy. We’ve made mussels a few times already for French Fridays with Dorie: mussels with chorizo in February 2012 and, more recently, moules marinière in January 2014.
Sometimes Costco has 5 pound bags for sale at 99 cents a pound. Who can pass that up? Not me. Back in the September/October 2013 issue of Cook’s Illustrated, they had a recipe with several different flavor variations for steaming the mussels in the oven. I’ve tried a few of those, and they are excellent. I’d give you the link, but Cook’s Illustrated doesn’t share their recipes on-line. If you subscribe, check your back issues, or email me and I’ll send you a copy of the recipe.
I don’t know that I’ve ever made the exact same recipe twice. I do know that I typically use Mediterranean flavors, with or without tomatoes, always with garlic, herbs, and wine. I’ve also tried mussels with hard cider, which also falls in the European camp. The jump to Southeast Asian with curry powder was new territory for me with mussels.
Even with the seasoning relocation, this was as easy as other recipes I’ve made. Onions and shallots are sautéed in butter. Spices are added, and the heat allows the curry powder flavors to bloom. Finally, wine and herbs go into the pot to make the base of the sauce.
Time to add to the mussels. This time, I picked up Maine mussels at Whole Foods. They were pretty clean, so the effort to sort, scrub and debeard was minimal. After just three minutes, they were gaping open.
To finish, the mussels are scooped out of the pot and set aside while heavy cream is added and boiled for a few minutes to reduce the sauce. I wasn’t paying close attention to the recipe and skipped the step to boil the sauce for a few minutes before adding the cream. It seemed fine without it.
Dorie recommends serving the curried mussels with bread or French fries. I served with both: French fries for munching and bread for dipping. Dorie also insists that the mussels are eaten piping hot and with your fingers. I followed her instructions, but have to admit that the sauce kept flying out of the shells, onto me. I had to do laundry when I was finished with dinner. Did anyone else have that problem?
Howard isn’t wild about the taste of curry, but he was away for a few days, so I made a half of the recipe for myself. I really enjoyed it. The curry powder gave an exotic twist while the cream and shallots kept a tie to Europe. Soaking up the sauce with bread was the way to go. I bought a bag of frozen French fries, just like my mom used to make to go with Mrs. Paul’s fish sticks, though mine were organic. I was shopping at Whole Foods, after all. The fries didn’t stay hot for very long once they came out of the oven. Maybe my house is too cold. I think perhaps French fries are better as restaurant food.
There were plenty of mussels leftover. I plucked from the shells and stored them in the sauce. The reheated mussels were delicious served over jasmine rice and steamed carrots with chopped scallions sprinkled on top. Didn’t I tell you that mussels are versatile?
Next week, I’ll share photos of my next Dorista meetup: breakfast with Tricia of Tricia and Nana Cooking with Dorie and our husbands, happening tomorrow morning!
We are no strangers to mussels at our house. We eat them a few times a year and always enjoy them. When I saw that this week’s recipe for French Fridays with Dorie was Moules Marinière, I knew we’d be having at least one simple dinner this week. I’ve been thinking about it, and I don’t typically put mussels on the grocery list. I’m usually out shopping, see them, and bring them home for dinner. I’m not sure why I don’t plan to eat them more often because they are always surprisingly quick, easy, and satisfying.
The name marinière reminds me of marinara sauce. However, marinara sauce is always a tomato sauce and the marinière had none. Marinière is more of a white wine based sauce. According to Wikipedia, the origins of the names are the same, “Mariner’s Style”. I suppose Italian and French seamen have different cooking tricks up their sleeves.
For moules marinière, onion, shallot, and garlic are sautéed in butter. White wine is added along with herbs and some lemon peel, and a speck of chicken bouillon cube (Dorie’s secret ingredient). The mussels are added to the pot and cooked for just a few minutes, until they open. With some crusty bread, this makes a hearty meal. Reasonably priced, too, at least where I live. I paid $6 for a two pound bag of mussels from Maine. Not bad for a seafood dinner for two.
As I said, I can’t remember meeting a version of steamed mussels that I didn’t like. Moules Marinière was no exception. We both enjoyed this version.
I made my own no-knead bread in the bread dome my sister gave me for the holidays. It was crusty and airy and perfect with the mussels. I hope to share my results in more detail soon. The second loaf is rising on the counter as we speak.
As I said, I used half the mussels called for, though I made the full broth recipe. Unfortunately, we didn’t have any leftovers. When we do have leftover mussels, I enjoy using them to make something like linguine with clam sauce. I pick the mussels from the shells and save the leftover broth (along with any aromatic vegetables). The next night, I cook a box of linguine, gently reheat the mussels in the liquid and pour it over the cooked pasta. All this dish needs is a little fresh chopped parsley to finish it off. I think leftover moules marinière would work well with pasta too.
I’m looking forward to reading about what my fellow FFwD bloggers thought about this week’s recipe. Check out their links at here. We don’t post the recipes, but consider getting your own copy of the book, Dorie Greenspan’s book Around My French Table. It is well worth it.