Saturday, January 17, 2015
FFwD - Curried Mussels with Shoestring Fries
Today´s recipe for the French Fridays with Dorie group is Curried Mussels, a wonderfully delicious twist on the classic Moules Marinières.
In general, mussels are not expensive at all and plentiful. In the wild, they grow on coastline rocks and stones but the majority of mussels available around here are farmed in suitable coastal waters. Mussels are considered as one of the most environmentally sound types of fish or shellfish available.
Mussels are at their best in the colder months outside the breeding season. When you shop for mussels, you should always select those with tightly closed shells, avoiding any that are broken. Plump, juicy flesh and a delightful taste of the sea is what you are looking for once they are cooked. The color of the mussels is not indicative of quality, orange flesh tells you the mussels are female, while a whiter hue suggests males.
When preparing mussels, you should always eat mussels on the same day you buy them and make sure to discard any that stay open when tapped. Clean and debeard them (pull away their beards) and, if you are presenting them in their shells, it is a good idea to give them a good scrub. A number of rinses in cold, fresh water will ensure you are serving a sand- and grit-free meal.
Mussels require very short cooking time. And Dorie´s recipe is quickly put together. Using a large, heavy-based pan, all you that is required is a sautée of onions and shallots in some good-quality butter, then you add some curry powder and sautée some more to take the raw spice taste off. Then some sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and a pinch of red pepper flakes. You add about a cup of a dry white wine, fresh thyme, parsley, and a bay leaf. Then you place the mussels in the cooking liquid and turn up the heat to steam them for a few minutes. As soon as the shells start gaping open, you know they are ready. Make sure not to overcook them or you will end up with rubbery flesh. Discard any that fail to open fully. For the sauce, I decided against straining the solids, as we prefer the more rustic version. As a final touch, you can add some cream to the cooking liquid, which I do not really find necessary but it is a tasty option, of course.
Mussels are delicious with a wide array of flavors. Steaming them in vermouth or white wine, along with shallots, garlic and a few herbs, is traditional in a number of European countries including Belgium, the Netherlands, France and Germany. While we never had curried ones before, we loved the way these tasted.
The cooking liquid or sauce is always half the joy of eating mussels, so have plenty of crusty bread and shoestring fries, on stand-by, for soaking up and munching on – while you ponder the ease of getting a perfect little bistro-style supper on the table in no time and ask yourself all the while whatever took you so long to make this incredibly delicious recipe!
To see whether the other members of the French Fridays with Dorie group enjoyed this week´s recipe, please go here.
For copyright reasons, we do not publish the recipes from the book. But you can find the recipe for “Curried Mussels“ on pages 314-5 in Dorie Greenspan´s cookbook "Around my French Table".