How to make Moules Marinieres | Sailors/Mariners Mussels

Moules Marinieres
Moules marinières is one of the most famous and popular French dishes around.

You will find it on almost every menu in every French restaurant, particularly in coastal areas and other countries, such as Italy and Spain have also adapted this dish to their own tastes and favourite ingredients.

Moules marinières is also commonly known as Sailor's mussels, Mariner's mussels or even plain mussels in white wine sauce. The dish basically consists of delicately steamed fresh mussels in a white wine, garlic, parsley, butter, onion and cream sauce.
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Moules marinières can be served as an appetising starter or even a light main meal.

It is delicious served with fresh crusty bread, although the French traditionally serve it with French fries, which they dip into the delectable sauce and juices.

There is nothing more mouth-watering than a huge bowl of artistically presented mussels, yet the fun part is eating them.

The best way is to use an empty mussel shell as a tool to pick the remaining mussels from their shells and then eat them. It's a brilliant excuse to use your fingers to eat rather than the usual knife and fork.

A traditional French recipe will use butter, however the butter may be substituted for a few tablespoons of olive oil for a healthier option.

Moules marinières (Sailors/Mariners Mussels)

Ingredients (serves 2 people)
  • 1kg (2.2 lb) of fresh live mussels
  • 2 cloves of chopped garlic
  • 1 finely chopped onion
  • 5 fl oz (150ml) of dry white wine
  • 2 oz (55 g) of butter
  • 1 large handful of finely chopped parsley
  • 4 tbsp of cream (single or double)
  • salt and pepper
Method
  1. Clean, debeard and rinse the mussels several times in cold running water and set aside in a colander (see our section on preparing mussels before cooking).
  2. Pick out any mussels that are open and don't snap shut when tapped and discard them.
  3. Melt the butter in a large saucepan and then add the chopped onion and garlic. Cook for a few minutes on a medium heat until the onions have softened.
  4. Pour the white wine into the saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring occasionally.
  5. Add the mussels and cover the pan with a lid. Cook the mussels on a high heat for several minutes, gently shaking the bottom of the pan several times during cooking to redistribute the mussels.
  6. If possible, remove the mussels one by one as they open, placing them in a colander with a bowl underneath to catch the juices and set to one side.
  7. Discard any mussels that have remained tightly shut.
  8. Boil the remaining liquid in the pan until it reduces to half and finally stir in the cream and parsley. Taste the sauce, as it may be quite salty and add any salt or pepper to your taste.
  9. Transfer the mussels to a large bowl and pour the reduced liquid over the mussels and serve immediately.
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