Friday, June 12, 2009

moules frites

I bought a bottle of white wine last week and decided it wasn't so hot, but it seemed a waste to throw it away. So, moules frites for dinner! (with a cold beer;-) Growing up in rhode island, mussels will always be the small black ones we used to crush on the beach as kids, but if you prefer, you can upgrade to the larger, meatier new zealand variety. A 2-lb bag of fresh local maine or connecticut black ones will cost you under 10 bucks and is more than enough for two.There are a million ways to cook them, but I like the crisp, northern french flavors in this simple recipe from Lille. 

2 lb bag fresh mussels
2 cups dry white wine
2 T olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 small onion, diced
2 fennel stalks (or celery), chopped
1 lg sprig thyme
bunch fresh parsley, chopped to 1 cup 
sea salt & fresh black pepper

sides: french baguette, fries ('ore ida', has to be shoe string are fantastic), butter and mayo.

Scrub mussels and place in large bowl of cold water. If any shells are open, they should close when tapped with a spoon- if not, throw them away. Put the olive oil, garlic, onion, & fennel on low heat for a few minutes, then add the wine and raise heat to high. Add mussels and herbs, and bring to boil- transfer any mussels that open early to a large bowl so they don't overcook. Grate fresh black pepper (lots!) over the pot, and pour all the remaining mussels and liquid into the bowl. Serve steamy, with warm bread and frites (just right timing @ 15 min in oven).  

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