Balthazar’s Simple Moules Marinière (Mussels)
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Dipping crusty bread into a pot of steaming mussels has to be one of my favorite eating experiences. And when a restaurant offers mussels, I’m inclined to order them because, one, I rarely make them at home, and two, they’re so darn good — when they’re good, that is.
Why I never make mussels at home confounds me, especially after trying this Balthazar recipe for Moules Marinière. I followed this recipe to a tee (with the exception of the freshly ground white pepper … so French), and was so pleased. I’ve now made them twice in one week.
This meal — mussels + salad + bread — has become a Christmas Eve tradition. It’s so simple, but so good, and for very little effort, it feels festive and fancy.
How to Store Mussels
- After purchasing mussels, keep the bag open during transit so that the mussels can breathe.
- Once home, store the mussels in a shallow bowl, covered with a damp paper towel in the coldest part of your fridge.
*Thank you Pelly’s Fish Market (Carlsbad, CA) for these tips!
How to Cook Mussels
Mussels could not be simpler or faster to make: they steam open in 3 minutes — yes, 3 minutes! Here’s how you make them:
- Sweat aromatics and herbs (shallots, garlic, celery and thyme) in butter; season with salt.
- Add crème fraîche and white wine; bring to a boil.
- Add the mussels, cover the pot, and steam for 3 minutes.
- Uncover the pot and sprinkle with parsley.
- Stir and serve with crusty bread. Voila: Moules à la Marinière.
Source: The Balthazar Cookbook
- 8 T. unsalted butter
- 5 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced (or diced)
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
- 2 celery stalks, thinly sliced on the bias
- 4 sprigs thyme
- pinch of kosher salt
- 1 cup dry white wine
- freshly cracked white (or black) pepper to taste
- 4 tablespoons crème fraîche
- 2 lbs. mussels, preferably Prince Edward Island
- a bunch of flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
- bread, any kind you like, grilled or heated just before serving
- In a large stockpot or Dutch oven, melt the butter over a LOW flame. Add the shallots, garlic, celery and thyme. Gently sauté for about 15 minutes until the vegetables are soft but not browned. Season with a pinch of kosher salt.
- Add the wine, pepper, and crème fraîche, and raise the heat to high.
- Once the liquid comes to a boil, add the mussels, stir gently, and cover with a tight fitting lid. Cook for 3 minutes, or until the mussels open.
- Add the parsley and stir gently. Serve in large bowls (remembering to discard any unopened mussels), with either crusty bread or French fries … yum.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Category: Mussels
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: French
Keywords: classic, mussels, simple, easy, Marinière, moules