Moules à la Marinière
I’ve made another resolution. I want to spend less time deciding what to eat and I want to spend more time actually eating… It’s a serious problem of mine.
The other day I was out to breakfast, the same place I always go to whenever I go out for breakfast, and it took me a solid 20 minutes to order and only 5 minutes to finish eating it. It was just sad, but kind of impressive at the same time… but mostly sad. I want slash need to change that!
I’ve praised the heavens about mussels before. If there are mussels on the menu, I will always order them. I am obsessed. I love mussels because it takes you an especially long time to eat them. I am a fan of any type of food that makes you work to eat them; it slows me down and makes me savor it. Mussels should be savored. And devoured.
I cannot stop thinking about mussels since I ate them for the first time in Barcelona. I have never consumed mussels prior to Barcelona because they have always reminded me of clams. Clams are just so slimy and gritty and slurp-y and noisy and they remind me of the word clammy, which reminds me of clammy hands and moist palms. Clams are just not appetizing at all… So you could see why the association between clams and mussels would discourage me from ever ordering mussels off a menu, but I could go on at length about these mussels.
Tony and I had just frequented an ice bar where we consumed copious amounts of mojitos, beer, sangria, and only a few handfuls of peanuts and we were on a mission to feast. We walked back and forth on this strip right off the beach trying to decide on what to eat (standard) before we settled on Agua. It’s located directly off the beach with a huge outdoor seating area and a modern-minimalist interior.
At this point in the night we were waaaasted and asked the waiter to bring out his favorite dishes… I also explicitly remember tapping on the window to the couple sitting outside to ask them what they were eating because it looked delicious. Stupid Americans.
Anyway, our waiter brought us mussels and I was so hungry I could care less if there resembled clams. I would have eaten my hand if it was served in that sauce. This sauce was unlike anything I’ve ever tasted. It was buttery and creamy, yet light and citrusy and full of freshly chopped herbs. It was outstanding and I would eat it plain with a spoon, which I probably did once I ran out of bread that night.
I attempted to recreate this sauce using Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” recipe and my own mussels experience. I have created a masterpiece. A masterpiece that only takes minutes to cook and a half hour to eat. Win-win.
Moules à la Marinière
Yield: 4-6 servings
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
- 2 pounds mussels
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/3 cup parsley, chopped
- 2 tablespoons sage, chopped
- 2 tablespoons thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 cups dry white wine
- 1 pint heavy cream
- Juice of half a lemon
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- To clean the mussels, place in a large stockpot with 2 quarts of cold water and flour and let soak for 30 minutes. Drain water, scrub mussels, and discard any mussels whose shells are tightly sealed.
- To make the sauce, melt the butter and olive oil over medium-high heat and add shallots. Cook until shallots are translucent and then add garlic until fragrant. Add parsley, sage, thyme, bay leaf, white wine, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and add cream until just combined.
- To make the mussels, add the mussels to white wine sauce, stir to combine, cover the pot, and cook over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, or until all the shells open. Squeeze half a lemon over mussels, shake and stir until mussels are coated with sauce. Pour the mussels and sauce in a large bowl and serve hot with crusty bread.