We love recipes that come with personal stories and great memories attached. This one is from our contributor Sally Bernstein.
When I attended La Varenne Cooking School in Paris many years ago I was taught how to make Mussels a la Marinière, which is perfect for springtime - or anytime at all! It is versatile and can be an appetizer or main course.
I’ll never forget scrubbing dozens of mussels with a brush under cold running water, something I had never done before. This classic French dish, served at many American restaurants, is offered with a variety of cooking liquids and cooking methods. I’ve tasted Spicy Thai steamed mussels, baked mussels and roasted mussels.
Most mussels we eat today are cultivated, something like farm-raised fish. After they are removed from beds on the ocean floor, they are graded and cleaned. Mussels are grown on both the East and West coasts of the United States.
Make sure the mussels you buy are alive and fresh. The shells need to be closed and be sure to refrigerate when you get them home.
Mussels with Garlic and White Wine Recipe
(serves 4 as an appetizer or 2 as a main course)
- 2 Tbsp. butter
- 3 shallots, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1-pound mussels
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 2 Tbsp. parsley (flat leaf or curly leaf), finely chopped
Melt butter in a large heavy pot and cook the shallots and garlic until light brown, just a few minutes.
Scrub the mussels thoroughly and remove any barnacles, beards (threads of brown seaweed), and cracked or broken shells. Clean the mussels just before cooking as the mussel dies shortly after its beard is removed.
In the large heavy pot add wine to the shallots and garlic, cover and simmer 2 minutes. Add the mussels, cover and cook 5-7 minutes until the mussels open, stirring once. Discard any mussels that do not open.
Sprinkle the mussels with chopped parsley, stir and taste the liquid for seasonings. Serve the mussels in a soup bowl with the cooking liquid spooned over them.
The sand and grit from inside the mussels falls to the bottom of the cooking liquid. This liquid must be spooned carefully into the bowls, leaving the grit behind, or it can be strained.
Served with toasted or grilled crusty French or sourdough bread, to soak up the liquid.
For more recipes and food tips, visit Sally's Place.