Although I am a big fan of seafood, mussels were never much on my radar until I was about halfway through college. My best friend Heather introduced me to them. I did not pay particular attention to how she prepped or cooked them because, at that time, I was far more interested in just eating food than making it. That didn’t come until later. Although I had mussels with Heather a couple of times, I never thought to eat them on my own or even order them while out at restaurants. My loss.
This is my third time making mussels, the second time from Around My French Table. They almost didn’t get made. It’s a long story involving sleeping in and not driving Geordie to work (we only have one car), so suffice to say that my husband is awesome, and he went grocery-shopping for me after work and brought home mussels. I love him.
Mussels don’t require much attention, which makes them my favorite shellfish to prepare (lobster would be my favorite shellfish to eat, but not only are they expensive, I still haven’t quite figured out how to dismantle them as quickly or efficiently as Heather does). After scrubbing and de-bearding them, they get thrown in a pot with some cooking broth for a few minutes. Done. Eat immediately. Yay!
I admit, I’m still taking some shortcuts in the kitchen, and I probably will be for a while yet to come. I found a bag of frozen Israeli couscous and spinach at Target, and that served as our side dish. I thought it went well with the mussels, but Geordie felt that the “spinach was too overpowering.” It might not have been the best choice of a side dish for these amazing mussels, but it worked for me. The mussels were clearly the stars of this meal anyway.
These mussels. Oh, man. These mussels made me want to have mussels once a week.
It’s pretty simple, especially when you don’t do the onion and the shallots (ew and ew). Olive oil to start, followed by a quick saute of garlic. White wine, a little lemon zest, some seasoning (mmm, thyme), and that’s all. Bring to boil. Dump in mussels. Cover, simmer, (stick frozen bag of side dish in microwave), stir, sit, done. Some of the mussels maybe could have used a little more cooking time, but not so many that it ruined the meal. We had plenty of mussels and plenty of broth, which was soaked up nicely by slices of French baguette.
Bonus: after removing a dozen mussels from their shells and mixing them into my Israeli couscous, I was able to hold Hannah and eat at the same time. She enjoyed this, alternating her time between staring at my food and staring at Geordie across the table.
I really enjoyed these mussels – we both did. Moules marinière is a classic French preparation, and it proves why the classics are often the best. There’s nothing particularly fancy here, and what resulted was a nice, homey dish enjoyed with a couple glasses of white wine. I don’t make mussels very often, but when I do from now on, this will probably be my preferred way of cooking them.
To see how the other Doristas feel about this classic dish, check out their links. Happy cooking!