Moules À La Marinière

by Jenny

We’re in full on birthday mode over here at the moment. I am a HUGE fan of the birthweek (rather than just a birthday) and though my wonderful boyfriend won’t be turning 27 till Monday we started celebrating a few days ago with a trip to one of our favourite local restaurants, followed the next day by his works traditional party-pub-lunch.

To keep this momentum up we’re going to be spending time with our lovely friends for a lot of this:

and hopefully some more appropriate fashion choices than this – in my defence Kent is very flat, so it didn’t occur to me that it might be windy standing in the middle of a suspension bridge.

Celebration in my family always means cooking a meal that’s not usually featured in day to day dinners. The act of preparing food, then sitting down together to enjoy it is one of my favourite expressions of familial love.

Moules à la Marinière
(fresh mussels steamed open in wine and flavourings)
from Mastering the Art of French Cooking
serves 6-8

5 qts scrubbed soaked mussels
3/4 pt of light dry white wine or 1/2 pt dry white vermouth
8 tbsp of chopped shallots, spring onions or very finely chopped onions
8 parsley sprigs
1/2 bay leaf
1/4 tsp thyme
1/8 tsp pepper
3 oz butter
8 tbsp chopped parsley

Put all the ingredients in a pan excluding the mussels and boil for 2-3 minutes to evaporate the alcohol and reduce the volume slightly.

Add the mussels, cover tightly and rapidly boil for 5 minutes, frequently shaking the pan in a rapid up and down motion to insure the mussels change levels and cook evenly.

When the shells have swung open the mussels are done.

Serve in soup bowls, including the sauce sprinkled with parsley.

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