On the menu today, using fresh mussels from the farmers market, shallots, and fresh parsley, we are preparing some “moules marinières” (mussels à la marinière or simply mussels mariniere). There are a few variations of the mussels mariniere recipe, with or without white wine, creme or without creme, etc. The recipe below is “nature”, meaning without white wine or creme. We enjoy both variations but the natural mussels mariniere recipe allows you to fully taste the rich flavor of the mussels.
When we get our mussels straight from the coast, we typically opt for this one. You will notice however that many French restaurants and bistros with a “moules marinières” dish on their menu offer a mussels marniere recipe with white wine. The mussels mariniere recipe below is very healthy, low calorie, and since mussels always take a long time to eat, it is a perfect dish to linger at the table with a nice glass of wine. For a special meal, it’s a treat to serve mussels mariniere with French fries for a “moules-frites” evening — cheap way to travel to the French coast! Enjoy and bon appétit!
Mussels à la Marinière Recipe (Moules Marinières)
Mussels à la Marinière Recipe (Moules Marinières Nature)
INGREDIENTS (for 4 servings)
- 4 lb of mussels (for a main course, count about 1 lb per person but if it’s a starter, only count about 1/2 lb per person)
- 3-4 shallots
- 1 sprig of thyme
- 2 laurel leaves
- 1 TBSP of Butter
- 1 cup of water (or just enough to cover the bottom of your pot)
- Salt & pepper
- Parsley (to decorate)
- Prepare mussels by scraping them one at a time with a knife and dropping them in a big bowl of water. Make sure you remove the byssus (i.e. also called beard — dark filaments coming out of the mussel shell used by the mussels to adhere to rocks or other surfaces). Mix the mussels gently in the bowl to remove excess dirt and mussels that are already open. Repeat if needed.
- Mince shallots. Put some water at the bottom of a large pot. Melt butter and simmer minced shallots under medium heat for a few minutes until soft (about 5 min.) .
- Drop mussels in pot. Add salt and pepper, thyme, and laurel leaves.
- Cook covered under high heat, mixing from time to time, for about 5-10 minutes or until all mussels open up.
- Serve in deep plates. Sprinkle with chopped parsley to decorate and shower the mussels with a few spoons of broth. Some guests may enjoy drinking the broth or dunking fresh baguette into it, si bon!
A FEW SUGGESTIONS
- Wine suggestions — we recommend a dryer white wine such as a Muscadet, French wine from the west of the Loire valley, which pairs very well with shellfish. A dry Sauvignon blanc or Chardonnay would work as well.
- No fork and knife needed: eat your first mussel and use its emptied shell to pinch the mussels inside the other shells and pull them out.