01.01.2003 -starter - mussels
Plain mussels marinière
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I think this is the simplest recipe there is for preparing mussels
… It's this apparent simplicity that finally won me over because it seems to me it's a recipe that brings out all the flavor of this shellfish, that tastes best when most simply prepared.I put a lot of thought into what recipe I should offer you for this 4th edition of blog appétit, dedicated to mussels and onions… I thought of having you make real moules frites, of mussels with beer, a cold mussel soup or maybe mussel fritters…
After giving it considerable thought, I finally decided that the beauty of this product is its obvious simplicity, so I let myself be charmed by a few shellfish straight out of the pot, cooked with a little aromatic garnish made from an onion brunoise and strips of celery. No white wine, no aromatic herbs, very little spice… just mussels in all their glory.
The photo is simple too, because I took it in a hurry before gobbling them up!
Mussels are prepared by the panful and I recommend you prepare them by the 2.2 lb (1 kg) panful, which helps enormously in keeping the cooking even and decreases the risk of a flop.
I chose jumbo Dutch Zeeland mussels because it's the variety they use the most in Belgium. While not as refined as the little bouchot mussels, they are meaty, which suits gourmets perfectly »
For a 2.2 lb (1 kg) panful of mussels (1 person as a main course, 2 people as a starter)
- 2.2 lb (1 kg) Zeeland jumbo mussels
- 2 stalks celery
- 2 tbsp (25 g) butter
- ½ white onion
- Clean mussels well, scrape their shells and make sure they're well closed.
- Throw out all open mussels, along with those that don't resist when you press on them with your fingers.
- Peel onion and dice finely
- Strip leaves from celery stalks and save a lot of the green part. Dice finely.
- Melt butter in a pan over moderate heat
- Add pieces of celery and onions.
- Soften for 5 minutes
- Add 2 tbsp water
- Cover and raise heat to high
- As soon as pan is very hot and steaming, add mussels.
- Stir well into vegetables and covering as fast as possible
- Cook 4 minutes, until all the mussels are open.
- Pepper and serve right away.
- You can serve in the pan or spoon into soup plates, and don't forget to spoon the cooking broth and vegetables onto them.
- If there's anything you need to remember about this recipe, it's the cooking time! Mussels must be barely cooked or they'll become rubbery and lose their flavor.
- This recipe will of course go very well with French fries fixed right but remember that West Flanders fishermen served with plain bread and butter.
- I tried accompanying this mussel dish with some fine slices of bread buttered with lightly salted butter and I assure you it's excellent. Particularly for going after the cooking it’s a broth that you'll eat as a soup.
- If you go for French fries, I recommend you take a little of the mussel cooking broth, mix with mayonnaise and serve as a sauce for dipping your mussels. It's a little specialty I've already been served with French fries in Anvers.
- This super easy recipe will of course take any number of extras: you can add cream, white wine, beer, Provençal sauce, curry sauce, pastis, etc.
You can cook them with a mixture of onions, leeks, celery, and julienned carrots, with thyme, garlic or chervil;
- If you want to eat the best mussels in Brussels, I can't think of a better place to recommend than Bonne Humeur… It's a restaurant with the feel of a café. Its Formica tables bear traces of all the guests who've pulled up their chairs there and will take you back in time…
Mussels are served in cast iron pots and are prepared almost as simply as my own, with their very own French fries!
See you at La Bonne Humeur, Chaussée de Louvain 244, 1000 Bruxelles (02 230 71 69)
Suggested drink or winesBeer: a Jupiler, a Maes, a Stella Artois or how about a De Koninck
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