Moules-frites are a dish traditional to Northern France and if you
haven't had the chance to try this great combination of fresh mussels
and crispy French fries, you will want to make this for yourself and
just see what you have been missing!
They are to be seen
everywhere in Northern France and if you have been lucky enough to visit
any of the markets in the region you may well have seen this dish and
even tried them.
As the area is close to Belgium it has much of
the Flemish flavour with many of it's dishes. Beer or cider is drunk
with the dishes, especially the pale beers which are very good.
you have been afraid to cook mussels, you are not on your own. Many
people are reluctant to try and cook these wonderful shell fish yet they are so
very easy to cook.
It is in fact the preparation that is important and once you understand this procedure, the rest is easy.
need to be cleaned properly – scrubbed with a small brush under running
water to remove the grit as you don't want any grit in your teeth.
Then you need to remove the beard – the long string like thing that hangs from the shells. This is time consuming, so allow plenty of time in which to do it.
Mussels need to be closed when you pop them in the pan – throw any away
if they are open. When they are cooked they should be open – again,
throw them away if they remain closed. Please take care with this part!
Now you are ready to make your moules-frites!
· 1kg mussels (per person, is ample), cleaned and beard removed (the mussels, not the person!) – scrub
with a brush under running water
1 to 2 tablespoons butter
2 shallots or 1 small onion, chopped
3–4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, chopped
250mls white wine or beer – pale not dark
Salt and freshly ground pepper
For the French fries (frites)
You will need about 4–6 potatoes, peeled or unpeeled
Cut the potatoes into ¼ inch slices or rounds
Cut the slices into strips about ¼ inch wide or wider if you
prefer them a little thicker.
Soak them in a bowl of salted water for about an hour to
remove the starch.
Finally rinse the potato strips and dry well on a tea towel
or kitchen paper.
Fry in hot oil until they are golden brown. Remove and drain
on kitchen paper.
The next stage is to cook your mussels.
Melt the butter in a heavy bottomed pan over a
Add the chopped shallots/onion, garlic and cook
gently for a few minutes until soft.
Add the wine or beer, bring to the boil and
immediately simmer with lid on the pan for about eight minutes.
Add the herbs and season with coarse salt and
pepper as required – taste to see how much you need any first.
Keep warm as you finish the last stage of your
Last Stage – reheat the oil and fry
the potatoes for a few minutes then drain on kitchen paper before serving.
Serve your Moules-frites in small bowls with a little of the
cooking juices along with a bowl of crispy French fries and crispy French bread
if you are hungry!
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