Thursday, April 7, 2011

Classic Moules Mariniere with Cream, Garlic & Parsley

Wine, cream, and butter — the holy trinity of any devout epicurean. Together they produce a mighty potion rich enough to enhance any dish. One of my favourites is Moules Mariniere, a classic dish found in bistros throughout the world. The essentials are simple: cook onions and garlic in an abundance of butter, add a dollop or two of white wine, lashings of parsley and a final flourish of light cream. Difficult? Hardly. Expensive? Not really. Mussels are only $2.99/lb, but you will need a reasonably good bottle of wine, both for the broth and for quaffing afterwards. Moules is an easy dish that can be prepared in no time at all, and it's delicious, especially with a loaf of crusty bread to sop up the addictively delicious sauce. If you're feel sufficiently motivated, you can also make your own french fries for a traditional "moules-frites". Mon Dieu.

Moules Mariniere with Cream, Garlic & Parsley
Serves 2

1 lb. mussels, de-beard and kept chilled until using
5 shallots, sliced (or 1/2 large onion, sliced thin)
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 handful of fresh thyme, on the stem
1 1/2 cups white wine
1/2 cup cream
4 tbsp butter
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt and pepper
2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
Crusty French bread, for serving

In a large heavy-bottomed pot with a lid, heat the olive oil and melt the butter. Sauté the shallots, or onions, until translucent, then add the garlic, sauté for a couple minutes more, then add the wine and thyme, and stir everything around.

Once the wine is bubbling, add the mussels. Put the lid on, and shake the pot a bit to coat them. Turn the heat down to medium-high, and continue cooking 5-7 minutes. By this time the mussels should have opened up. Those that haven't, you should discard. Add the cream, a bit of salt and pepper, and stir together.

Serve the moules in two large warmed dinner bowls. Ladle a generous amount of the delicious sauce overtop and garnish with some chopped parsley. Be sure to mop up the sauce with a loaf of warm crusty bread!

COOK'S NOTE: Serve Moules Mariniere over linguini for another delicious version of this classic dish!