Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Moules Mariniere

     I noticed that there are many Mussels Mariniere recipes on the internet.  "Dorky celebrity chef" recipes that add way too many "personal taste" extra ingredients and some recipes that are totally wrong seem to be the offerings.  Mussels mariniere is supposed to be a very simple traditional recipe.  Mussels mariniere is a standardized French recipe that is used to create many other traditional French recipes.  Moules Poulette is a good example of a recipe that calls for mussels mariniere as an ingredient.
     Mussels Mariniere is a very popular seafood restaurant and yacht club favorite.  It is so simple, that many over zealous chefs miss the mark.  Mussels mariniere is usually finished with milk or cream, when it is served on its own.  When mussels mariniere is used for other recipes, then it sometimes is not finished with milk.  Why complicate perfection?  I learned not to add personal taste to recipes, but to respect tradition and accuracy when I apprenticed.  This recipe is not fancy, but the end result is simply delicious!
     Recipe:  Clean and debeard about 12 to 14 large mussels.
     Soak the mussels in salt water with corn meal.  (This will cause the mussels to expel any sand inside the shell.)
     Rinse the mussels with fresh water.
     Heat a saute pan over medium high heat.
     Add 2 pats of unsalted butter.
     Add 1 minced garlic clove.
     Add the mussels.
     Saute and shake the pan for 30 seconds.
     Add a generous splash of dry white wine.
     Poach the mussels for a minute till they start to open up.
     Add 1 cup of l milk.
     Add 1 small splash of cream.
     Bring the broth to a quick gentle boil.
     Reduce the temperature to medium/medium low heat.
     Add a pinch of sea salt and black pepper.
     Add 1 small pinch of nutmeg. 
     Cover the saute pan for one minute.
     The juices of the mussels will combine with the wine and milk broth to create a very nice aroma like an oyster stew.
     The mussels should be fully open by now. 
     Discard any mussels that did not open. 
     Arrange the mussels in a shallow soup bowl.
     Pour the broth over the mussels.
     Serve with French bread slices and a soup spoon.
     Like I said, this recipe is simply delicious without unnecessary herbs and extra ingredients that are of personal taste!  Sometimes, "the simpler the better" does hold true.  The milk broth is rich with the aroma of mussels and white wine!  This recipe only takes a few minutes to cook.  Mussels Mariniere is a throw back to the good old days of fine dining!   ...  Shawna

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