{Recipe} Moules Mariniere

I was at the Central Market the other day and spied a large board outside a seafood shop announcing that their black mussels were selling for $4.99 a kilo. Of course I pounced and bought myself just under a kilo of beautifully fresh mussels.

Now, I have cooked mussels before but never ones with the complete shells intact and never ones that were as fresh. The foremost idea I had was Season 3 Masterchef’s surfer boy Hayden serving up Moules Mariniere in a double sectioned bowl with pommes frites and an icy bottle of beer. So of course this popular mussel dish would grace my dining table sooner rather than later.

Due to its freshness, the mussels really did not require much in way of seasoning. The end product was succulent morsels bursting with flavour. I didn’t even have to add salt to the entire cooking process. The sweetness that could only come from fresh shellfish and a faint tinge of brine packed a solid punch of deliciousness. I couldn’t get enough of them. Of course.

Moules Mariniere

Adapted from Masterchef

1kg fresh mussels

1Tb butter

1Tb olive oil

2 onion shallots, diced

5 large cloves garlic, diced

1Tb dried tarragon (if you’ve got fresh ones, by all means use them!)

1c dry white wine

1/4c fat-reduced thickened cream

Mussel prep: Wash mussels with water, gently scrub off any barnacles attached to shells. Remove beards, sand and broken shells. Rinse under running water briefly.

In a large pan with lid, heat olive oil and 1/2Tb butter. Add shallots, garlic and tarragon, fry until fragrant and shallots are translucent. Add prepped mussels into pan, give it a quick stir then cover and cook for approximately 5 minutes. Give the pan a quick shake intermittently. Add wine and give the pan another shake. If most mussels are still closed, replace lid and cook for a further 2 minutes. Remove mussels and set them in a covered bowl. Bring the remaining liquid in the saucepan to a boil and reduce to approximately 1/3 of the original amount. Add cream and stir. Serve with mussels.