French cuisine with an indulgent taste of the sea, Moules Mariniere is a classic. As a starter with a few pieces of freshly baked baguette or as a main with a large bowl of French fries as Moules Frites. You can even do this dish as a serving platter, with all the mussels in a big bowl in the centre of the table so every just piles in.
Traditionally cooked in white wine and cream, our version uses leeks and garlic for a subtle onion flavour with parsley or chives (or both) as a garnish.
People are often scared of cooking mussels and shellfish, but it is incredibly easy. The key is to ask your fishmonger, or the fish counter at the supermarket if you can tap or flick one of the mussels before you buy. The mussel should close as part of its defence reflex if it is fresh and still alive, if it doesn’t react, they are not fresh. As they cook, they will open, just avoid any that stay closed.
Ingredients – Serves 2 as main or 4 as a starter.
2kg fresh mussels, cleaned.
1tbsp olive oil
2x leeks sliced into 1cm rings.
6 large cloves of garlic
1 fish stock cube made up with 300ml boiling water
300ml white wine
300ml crème fraiche
Freshly ground black pepper
Some fresh chives or parsley to garnish.
A fresh baguette or French fries to serve
Half fat crème fraiche works very well if you prefer.
1. Grab the largest lidded pot you have, preferably with a heavy base, add the olive oil, leeks, crushed garlic and pepper and sauté over a medium heat until slightly translucent.
2. Add the wine and stock, bring up to light simmer, then add the crème fraiche.
3. Now add the mussels and give a good stir to coat them, put the lid on for 5 minutes.
4. Once the 5 minutes is up, remove the lid and stir the mussels / shake the pot to mix, you should see the shells starting to open. Continue to cook until the shells open fully and the mussel inside is opaque.
5. Serve the mussels into bowls, spoon over the sauce and garnish with the chives or parsley and serve.