Wine, cream, and butter — the holy trinity of any devout epicurean. Together they produce a powerful potion rich enough to enhance any dish. One of my favourites is Moules Marinière, a classic dish found in brasseries throughout the world. The essentials are simple: cook chopped leeks in an abundance of butter, add a dollop or two of white wine, lashings of thyme and a final flourish of light cream. Difficult? Hardly. Expensive? Not at all. Mussels are just relatively inexpensive, but you'll need a reasonably good bottle of white wine, both for the broth and for quaffing afterwards. An easy dish that can be prepared in no time at all, moules are low fat, low cal and absolutely delicious, especially with a loaf of crusty bread to sop up the silky sauce. If you're feel sufficiently motivated, you can also make your own french fries for a traditional "moules-frites." Mon Dieu.
1 lb mussels
1 leek, rinsed and thinly sliced
1 handful of fresh thyme, plus more for garnish
1 cup white wine
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp butter
kosher salt and white pepper
1 baguette, for serving
In a large heavy-bottomed pot with a lid, heat the butter over medium heat until melted. Add the leeks, season with salt and white pepper and sauté until translucent, about 5 or 6 minutes. Then add the wine and fresh thyme, and stir to combine. Once the wine is bubbling, add the mussels and give them a stir to coat. Cover and turn the heat up to medium-high, and continue cooking 4 to 5 minutes, or until the mussels have opened up. Those that haven't, you should discard. Add the cream and give it all a good stir. Pour the moules in one large serving bowl or portion into two individual warmed dinner bowls. Ladle the sauce overtop and garnish with some additional chopped thyme. Be sure to mop up the sauce with a loaf of warm crusty bread — delicious!