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Moules à la Provençale recipe

Moules à la Provençale recipe


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Tomatoes and garlic are essential to this dish, which is light, fresh and full of flavour. A perfect preparation for mussels if you like to avoid the cream and butter so prominent in many other recipes.

54 people made this

IngredientsServes: 6

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 shallots, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (400g) tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon tomato purée
  • 36 mussels - cleaned and debearded
  • small handful fresh chopped basil
  • small handful fresh chopped oregano
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped

MethodPrep:15min ›Cook:20min ›Ready in:35min

  1. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook shallots and garlic in oil until soft. Stir in chopped tomatoes, tomato purée and the mussels. Season with basil and oregano. Cover, and simmer for 10 minutes.
  2. Stir in fresh tomatoes. Cover, and simmer 5 minutes. Discard any mussels that have not opened their shells. Using a slotted spoon, place mussels in bowls and pour sauce over the top. Serve with crusty bread to mop up the delectable juices.

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(27)

Reviews in English (21)

by SunnyByrd

I used blue mussels, green olives and linguine because of availablity and added a little lemon and fresh parsley. This is simple and delicious! Thanks for the recipe.-20 May 2010

by cassie

This was yummy, although it did seem to miss something, I'm not sure what. The first time I made this exactly as stated, the second time I added a couple of Tb's of sundried tomato pesto and a dash of chilli, plus a bit of salt. It was still very nice, but needed a little more oomph. Maybe next time I'll add whole black peppercorns.-16 Mar 2007

by Sunkist

Pretty good. I only had pre-frozen mussels since I do not live in an area that you can buy fresh, so I cooked them right at the end and turned them in. The pasta was pretty good, decent flavor, although I do not usually like such a watery sauce on my pasta. I would try again and modify the ingredients to more my liking.-14 Jan 2007


Moules marinière recipe

The good thing about mussels is you can eat them all year round! We French have many uses for them – gratin, omelette, stuffed, in soups, casseroles, in salads – but my favourite is the most traditional use of them: moules marinière. This Normandy classic is simple to cook at home, especially as you can now easily buy mussels that have already been cleaned and de-bearded.

Ingredients Required

For the mussels

Cooking Method

Step 1

Wash the mussels thoroughly in a bowl under cold running water, removing any barnacles and beards that are still present.

Discard any mussels that float, including those that are closed.

Drain the mussels in a colander.

Meanwhile, boil the wine in a small pan for 30 seconds.

Step 2

To cook the mussels in a large saucepan over a high heat, melt the butter.

Add the onion, bay leaves and thyme, stir and then add the wine after 10 seconds.

Bring to the boil, add the mussels and cover with the tight-fitting lid.

Cook for 2–3 minutes until the mussels open.

Stir in the cream and chopped parsley.

Step 3

To serve the mussels, tip into a large dish or divide among warmed soup plates.

Provide your guests with finger bowls and serve with lots of good French bread to mop up the wonderful juices.

Chef tips

"The secret, as ever, is in the freshness of the mussels. A fresh mussel is shiny, closed and heavy with seawater, with no ‘fishy’ smell."

"For an Indian twist, add a generous pinch of Madras curry powder to the onion and finish the dish with lemon juice and freshly chopped coriander."

"For a Thai flavour, add some chopped fresh chilli, garlic, lemongrass and a kaffir lime leaf replace the cream with creamed coconut or coconut milk."

Voila!

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Recipe © Raymond Blanc 2018
Food Photography © Chris Terry 2018

This recipe is adapted from the book Kitchen Secrets

Raymond’s love of delicious food is lifelong. Years of experience have given him a rich store of knowledge and the skill to create fantastic dishes that work time after time. With a range of achievable and inspirational recipes for cooks of all abilities - and useful tips throughout - this book brings Gallic passion and precision into the home kitchen.


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Hi! Welcome to my blog!

My name is Laura. I am a home cook, science junkie, Julia Child fan, daydreamer, beach lover, and major foodie. My goal is to document myself learning to cook, inspire you to cook, and share some great recipes with you along the way. I'm so glad you are here. Bon appétit! learn more →

Hi! Welcome to my blog!

My name is Laura. I am a home cook, science junkie, Julia Child fan, daydreamer, beach lover, and major foodie. My goal is to encourage and inspire others to get into the kitchen and learn about cooking whether that be through Julia Child recipes, fun cooking challenges, or by cooking one of my recipes I discovered in "my laboratory." Food is science, and science is so fun. It's not just about the food you create, it's about the techniques, the science, and the experience that gets you to that delicious end product. And then take that food, share it with the ones you love, and create lasting memories- that's the goal. As Julia once said, "This is my invariable advice to people: Learn how to cook- try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless, and above all have fun." Bon appétit! learn more →


Julia Child’s 100 Favorite Recipes Revealed

Julia Child would have turned 100 on August 15. To celebrate, a panel of chefs and culinary experts have compiled a list of Julia Child’s 100 most-beloved recipes — a daunting task given she had written over 3,700. The panel includes Food 52’s Amanda Hesser, chefs Thomas Keller and Jacques Pepin, and Ruth Reichl.

Stay tuned as we help celebrate Julia’s centennial with recipes, tributes and a review of a forthcoming book about her cats. Onto the recipes (sourced from Eat Your Books)…

1. Brioche, Baking with Julia

2. Plain French bread (Pain Français), Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume II

3. Chocolate and almond cake (Reine de saba), Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume II

4. Chocolate log cake (Bûche au chocolat bûche de Noël), From Julia Child’s Kitchen

5. Classic French butter-cream frosting and filling (Crème au beurre classique, au sucre cuit), From Julia Child’s Kitchen

6. Gâteau Paris, Way to Cook

7. Meringue case for dessert cream, ice cream or fruit and berry mixtures (Le vacherin), French Chef Cookbook

8. Perfect genoise, Baking with Julia

9. Crème fraîche, Way To Cook

10. Mayonnaise, From Julia Child’s Kitchen

11. Sauce Hollandaise, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume I

12. Pâté of duck in its own container (Terrine de canard pâté de canard), From Julia Child’s Kitchen

13. Pork and liver pâté with veal or chicken (Pâté de campagne), From Julia Child’s Kitchen

14. Almond cream with chocolate (Charlotte Malakoff au chocolat), Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume I

15. Apple charlotte, Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom

16. Caramel custard, unmolded — warm or cold (Caramel renversée au caramel), Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume I

17. Cherry flan with liqueur (Clafouti à la liqueur), Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume I

18. Chocolate mousse, Way To Cook

19. Crème brûlée, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume I

20. Floating island, Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom

21. Lemon tart decorated with glazed lemon slices and lemon peel, From Julia Child’s Kitchen

22. Cream puffs (Les choux), French Chef Cookbook

23. Macédoine of fruits in Champagne, Julia Child & Company

24. Puff pastry, Baking with Julia

25. Cheese quiche (Quiche au fromage), French Chef Cookbook

26. Rum babas (Babas au rhum), Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume I

27. The famous upside-­down apple tarte tatin, French Chef Cookbook

28. Cheese soufflé, Way To Cook

29. Cream and bacon quiche (Quiche Lorraine), Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume I

30. Eggs baked in ramekins (Oeufs en cocotte à la crème), French Chef Cookbook

31. Rolled omelette (L’omelette roulée), Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume I

32. Shirred eggs with black butter sauce, Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom

33. Butter-­toasted croutons, Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home

34. Boiled leg of lamb with caper sauce (Gigot à l’Anglaise), Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume I

35. Braised sweetbreads (Riz de veau braisés), Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume I

36. Butterflied leg of lamb, Julia Child and Company

37. Calf’s brains in brown butter sauce (Cervelles au beurre noir), Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume I

38. Casserole‐sautéed pork chops (Côtes de porc poêlés), Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume I

39. Country pâté (Pâté de champagne), Way to Cook

40. Sautéed veal cutlets with tarragon (Escalopes de veau sautées a l’estragon), French Chef Cookbook

41. Julia’s blanquette de veau, Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home

42. Lamb stew printanière, Way To Cook

43. Pan-­broiled steak with béarnaise sauce (Bifteck sauté Bèarnaise), Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume I

44. Pan-­broiled steak with red wine sauce (Bifteck sauté marchand de vins -­ Bifteck sauté à la Bordelaise), Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume I

45. Rabbit stew (Rabbit ragout), Way To Cook

46. Roast rack of lamb (Carré d’agneau), Julia Child and More Company

47. Saddle of lamb garnished with Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs (Selle d’agneau, Milanaise), Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume I

48. Sautéed veal cutlets with mushrooms and cream (Escalopes de veau à la crème), Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume I

49. Veal gratinéed with onions and mushrooms (Veau Prince Orloff), Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume I

50. Crêpes Suzette, French Chef Cookbook

51. Flaming mound of crêpes with baked apple slices and macaroons (Gâteau de crêpes à la Normande), French Chef Cookbook

52. Roast duck with orange sauce (Canard à l’orange), French Chef Cookbook

53. Chicken breasts stuffed with herb butter and deep fried (Chicken Kiev), From Julia Child’s Kitchen

54. Chicken breasts with paprika, onions, and cream (Suprèmes de volaille Archiduc), Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume I

55. Chicken in white wine (Chicken fricassee), From Julia Child’s Kitchen

56. Chicken liver pâté, Julia Child’s Menu Cookbook

57. Chicken sautéed with herbs and garlic, egg yolk and butter sauce, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume I

58. Coq au vin, Way To Cook

59. Braised goose with prune and liver stuffing (Oie braisée aux pruneaux), French Chef Cookbook

60. Roast chicken, Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom

61. Roast chicken steeped with port wine, cream and mushrooms (Poulet au porto), Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume I

62. Roast chicken with garlic and lemon, In Julia’s Kitchen with Master Chefs

63. Roast duck with cracklings, Julia Child’s Menu Cookbook

64. Celery root rémoulade, Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home

65. Curly endive and bacon with poached eggs, Way To Cook

66. French potato salad — sliced potatoes in oil and vinegar dressing (Pommes de terre à l’huile), Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume I

67. Salade Niçoise, Way To Cook

68. Julia’s croque monsieur, Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home

69. Cheese sauce (Sauce Mornay), Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume I

70. Fillets of sole meunière, Way To Cook

71. Fish quenelles (Quenelles de poisson), Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume I

72. Lobster thermidor (Homard thermidor), French Chef Cookbook

73. Julia’s quick gravlax, Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home

74. Mussels on the half shell with herbed mayonnaise (Moules farcies), Julia Child and More Company

75. Salmon mousse (Mousse de saumon), Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume I

76. Scallops gratinéed with wine, garlic, and herbs (Coquilles St. Jacques à la Provençale), Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume I

77. Beef stew in red wine, with bacon, onions, and mushrooms (Boeuf Bourguignon), Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume I

78. Beef stew with garlic and anchovy finish (Boeuf à la Provençale), Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume II

79. Pot roast of beef braised in red wine (Boeuf à la mode), French Chef Cookbook

80. Bouillabaisse, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume I

81. Provençal fish stew with garlic mayonnaise (Bourride), French Chef Cookbook

82. Braised lamb shanks, In Julia’s Kitchen with Master Chefs

83. Braised pot roast of beef with wine, tomatoes, and Provençal flavorings, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume II

84. Beans baked with pork, lamb, and sausages (Cassoulet), French Chef Cookbook

85. Chicken bouillabaisse with rouille, Julia Child’s Menu Cookbook

86. Cold leek and potato soup (Vichyssoise), Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume I

87. Lamb stew with spring vegetables (Navarin printanier), Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume I

88. Onion soup (Soupe à l’oignon), Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume I

89. Veal shanks braised with wine and herbs and flavored with lemon and orange (Ossobuco), French Chef Cookbook

90. Provençal eggplant and zucchini casserole with onions, tomatoes, peppers, and herbs (Ratatouille), French Chef Cookbook

91. Soupe au pistou, Way To Cook

92. Sautéed hamburgers with wine, cream, and tomato sauce (Bifleck haché, sauté nature), Julia Child’s Kitchen

93. Cauliflower au gratin with cheese (Chou-­fleur à la mornay, gratiné), Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume I

94. Cheese puffs (Petits choux au fromage), Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume I

95. Julia’s stuffed tomatoes Provençal, Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home

96. Mushrooms simmered with lemon, onions, and herbs, to be served warm or cold (Champignons à la grecque), From Julia Child’s Kitchen

97. Mold of sliced potatoes baked in butter (Pommes de terre Anna), French Chef Cookbook

98. Cold Roquefort cheese balls (Amuse-­gueule au Roquefort), Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume I

99. Scalloped potatoes au gratin (Gratin Dauphinois), French Chef Cookbook

100. Souffléed potatoes (Pommes soufflées), From Julia Child’s Kitchen


Celebrating Julia Child with 15 Inspiring Seafood Recipes.

Julia Child was an inspirational chef who used her charm to introduce Americans to a fanciful French style of cooking and even some fusion ideas. Her cooking shows, although not the first cooking shows on television, were game-changing. Well-known as the sometimes clumsy chef, she showed the world you don’t have to be perfect to make a perfect dish. It’s no wonder why she became a household name, won many awards, and eventually became the first woman to be inducted into the Culinary Institute of America’s Hall of Fame. To honor this woman on her birthday, Today, August 15 th , let’s share some of her most classic and inspiring seafood recipes. @SamuelsSeafood, if you’re making anything for Julia!

1.) Bouillabaisse – The traditional seafood stew of the Provence region of France.

2.) Fish Chowder – Made in a more traditional and French style than its New England counterpart.

3.) Bisque De Homard A L’americane’ (Lobster Bisque) – A classic recipe with the fun, flavorful twist of Cognac.

4.) Lobster Thermidor – A French dish of Lobster in a cheesy, creamy wine sauce stuffed back in it’s shell.

5.) Hollandaise-Glazed Salmon with Seafood Mousse – A decedent French meal

6.) Coquilles St. Jacques À La Provençale – Perfectly grantinéed Scallops.

7.) Moules À La Provençal – Mussels gratinéed on the Half Shell.

8.) Moules à la Marinière Perhaps Julia’s most well-known seafood recipe, and also the simplest.

9) Sole-Meuniere À La Julia Child – Julia Child’s first meal in France, the inspiration behind her career.

10.) Curried Shrimp with Mushroom – French with a Fusion Twist.

11.) Salade Nicoise – This popular Child recipe with Tuna and Anchovy fillet offers simple elegance.

12.) Fish Quenelles in White Wine Sauce – Amazing for Halibut, Monkfish, Sole, or Flounder.

13.) Seafood Quiche – A creamy quiche made with Shrimp, Crab, and/or Lobster.

14.) Thon à la Provençal – Tuna (or Swordfish) with wine and tomatoes

15.) Swordfish in Monks Clothing – Here a video of our beloved Julia Child showing this massive Swordfish who’s boss with a beautiful braise in monastery wine.


One-Pot Thai Curry Mussels with Rice Noodles

We spiced up our one-pot mussels with Thai curry sauce to make this red curry mussels recipe. It’s cheap, it’s delicious, and best of all, it’s ready in 20 minutes!

Note: you can also find this recipe on Serious Eats!

Mussels are perhaps not everyone’s first choice for a quick weeknight supper, but that assessment deserves to be challenged. They cook quickly and excel in simple recipes like this one. Most people have probably made a variation on moules à la provençale (mussels in a garlic-tomato sauce) or moules marinières (with white wine and butter). Today we’re using a Thai-style red curry paste and a quick vegetable sauté to create a bold, spicy broth that pairs perfectly with briny mussels. Add some easy rice stick noodles and you’ve got a complete meal on your hands in 20 minutes or less.

Fresh mussels cook in minutes which makes them perfect for quick meals.

Here in the northeastern US, one of the best varieties of mussel hails from Prince Edward Island, just off Nova Scotia in Canada. Like most mussels available in North America, they are farmed rather than caught in the wild, which, according to Seafood Watch, makes them one of the most sustainably produced seafoods you can buy. As with any seafood, you do need to find a supplier that you trust to provide you with fresh, high-quality product. A good retailer will let you do the sniff test—like other fresh fish, fresh mussels should have only a faint odor. You should, of course, keep them cold, but not frozen, and cook them within a day or two—our preference is to set them in the fridge over ice, or underneath a zipper-lock bag packed with ice. If they’re in a plastic bag, make sure to keep it open for air.

Because they steam very quickly, you should prep them and keep them in the fridge while you get your noodles ready and prepare your base sauce. You may not need to do much work at all to clean the mussels—a light scrub might be required, and you’ll want to pull out any beards you see (this may not be too much of a problem with farmed mussels). Tap any mussels that are ajar to see if they can be coaxed closed if not, they should be discarded.

Once they’re back on ice, make the noodles. We chose thin rice vermicelli for this recipe—they cook through quickly just by sitting in hot water while you make the rest of the dish, and you won’t need to use the stove. Of course, you can warm up a baguette if you’d prefer bread to mop up the broth, but the noodles seem like a more natural pairing for the Southeast Asian flavors we’re using here for curry mussels.

The only real work you’ll have to do is construct the curry broth. To start, we heat up some oil in a skillet and sauté some garlic and shallots before adding a dollop of red curry paste. You can typically find curry paste in canned or jarred form in your grocery store. Different pastes can provide more or less spicy heat and salt, so if you’re trying a new paste, it’s wise to start with one or two tablespoons, taste, then add more if you like.

Once the red curry paste has bloomed in the oil (this helps develop its flavor), we hit it with a splash of alcohol. Adding a Western booze like wine or beer may sound strange for a curry-flavored broth, but we love the flavor it brings. We’ve tried both white wine and Bengian-style wheat beer in this recipe — feel free to experiment, and you probably can’t go too wrong whatever you have open will work. If using beer, avoid anything too heavy, like a porter or stout. For wine, a dry white is what you want, and don’t worry about breaking the bank. Anything you’d drink with dinner will work in the dish.

We often eat mussels straight out of the pot but this time opted for fancy silver bowls.

Next, we add coconut milk, fish sauce, lime juice, and a little sugar to balance out the heat of the curry paste. Then we add the mussels and cover the pot—they should open up within a few minutes, with just a couple of stirs now and then. By the way, you can ignore the old tip of discarding unopened clams or mussels: Studies have shown that they are perfectly safe to pry open and eat.

Finally, we stir some cilantro and basil into the curry mussels, adding them at the last minute so that their flavors stay bright and fresh. If cilantro’s not your thing, any mix of fresh soft herbs would be great. Parsley and mint are good options. Scoop the mussels and broth over noodles in individual bowls, and make sure you serve them with an empty bowl for the discarded shells!

You’ll want spoons to get at the last of the delicious broth.


Les Moules

It is served as a main dish in France, though it is thought to have originated in Belgium and is even considered the national dish of Belgium. French fries itself is arguably a French/Belgium dish so it’s no wonder moules-frites are a classic dish sold all over France and Belgium. It seems like a more luxurious and elevated dish than it is but in France it is served casually at cafes and bistros.

The mussels are usually served in a steaming pot or pan (the same one used to cook them) with the fries on a separate platter so that they do not become moist. There are several variations and preparations of moules – the most popular one being moules marinière: these are simple mussels cooked with white wine, garlic, shallots, parsley, and butter. Other variations include: moules natures, moules à la crème, moules à la bière, moules à l’ail, which can be cooked with flour and cream, beer, celery and leeks.

Mussels are already incredibly flavorful by themselves so they don’t need heavy seasoning or sauces, however white wine a must. Steaming white wine lends acidity into the briny mussels. Fresh herbs and garlic add an instant boost of flavor to any dish but this dish would be completely lost without them. The most important part of this dish is to use fresh, high-quality ingredients. When cooking seafood like mussels, they must be absolutely fresh.

Let’s not forget about the fries or pomme-frites. Fries are a welcomed addition to this dish and is used to soak up ever last bit of the briny, garlicky both.

At Left Bank, we serve les moules in two ways:

PROVENÇALE – Tomatoes, Basil, White Wine, Herbs de Provençe.

FLORENTINE – Spinach, White Wine, Garlic, Shallots, Pernod Garlic Butter. Pernod is occasionally added to the broth to accent the warm, anise flavor.

What’s not to love about this dish? It’s fresh, easy, and flavorful and you can really play around with the dish and flavors. Make sure you pair it with a cold glass of white wine to get the ultimate flavor pairing.


Moules à la provençale

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  • 2 gousses dɺil
  • 100 g d'oignon, coupé en deux
  • 100 g de poivron rouge, coupé en morceaux
  • 100 g de poivron vert, coupé en morceaux
  • 50 g d'huile d'olive
  • 400 g de tomates concassées en conserve, égouttées
  • 1 c. à soupe d'herbes de Provence déshydratées
  • 1 - 2 pincées de sel, à ajuster en fonction des goûts
  • 1 - 2 pincées de poivre moulu, à ajuster en fonction des goûts
  • 1 pincée de piment de Cayenne en poudre
  • 1000 g de moules fraîches, préalablement nettoyées
  • 10 feuilles de basilic frais

We spiced up our one-pot mussels with Thai curry sauce to make this red curry mussels recipe. It’s cheap, it’s delicious, and best of all, it’s ready in 20 minutes!

Note: you can also find this recipe on Serious Eats!

Mussels are perhaps not everyone’s first choice for a quick weeknight supper, but that assessment deserves to be challenged. They cook quickly and excel in simple recipes like this one. Most people have probably made a variation on moules à la provençale (mussels in a garlic-tomato sauce) or moules marinières (with white wine and butter). Today we’re using a Thai-style red curry paste and a quick vegetable sauté to create a bold, spicy broth that pairs perfectly with briny mussels. Add some easy rice stick noodles and you’ve got a complete meal on your hands in 20 minutes or less.

Fresh mussels cook in minutes which makes them perfect for quick meals.


What Les Halles?

Yup, I've been slacking off again, I know. Work is busy, I've been feeling run down, blah blah. This hasn't stopped me from cooking, but I have been slacking in the posting department, considering that whenever I've been in front of a computer, I've been doing work instead of writing about food. Anyway, I'm playing catch-up and will post about the dish I made last week. next week. But first, let's talk about moules à la Portugaise.

Now, there are a lot of DC Metro area food blogs that boast about the excellent fresh ingredients that can be found in this fair city. This is great, for some, but not so much for me. Why is that? Simple--I don't own a car. So the good ethnic shops in particular (and any non-metro accessible shops generally) are out of reach without some serious advanced planning.

This weekend we decided to do some of said advanced planning in order to make some purchases that needed to be transported by car. Husband J arranged to rent a zipcar for the morning, and asked me whether I'd like to visit BlackSalt, a fish market and restaurant in the Palisades (near Georgetown, another desolate and metro-less region, in my opinion). BlackSalt is known as THE place to get good, fresh seafood in the District, so of course I jumped at the chance to actually visit. In preparation, I decided to give them a call to see if they had any of the seafood I needed for some of my Les Halles Cookbook recipes. But when I called, asking what they might have in stock over the next couple of days, I got a terse "call tomorrow I buy my fish daily" from the head fishmonger, in a tone that told me this conversation was OVER.

Uh RUDE MUCH? No asking what I had in mind, or discussion of what might be available at this time generally? So much for asking whether pike or monkfish might be available (or if they have a season at all). I was a bit miffed, but those of you who know me know that I'm not quick to write off stores or people after one bad experience, everyone has off days. So I decided to go the next day to see what was available and get a feel for the place.

So, like I said, BlackSalt is a restaurant and fish market. The two shops are not separated, but combined, with the market in the front of the shop, and tables ranging from the front to the back, which looks like a more traditional restaurant. We went early on Saturday morning, so the restaurant was empty, but there were already a lot of customers looking over the fish counter. The counter held a lot of beautiful, gleaming seafood, including cuts, heads, whole fish, and other tasty creatures. Unfortunately, no monkfish tails, pike, crawfish, or any of the other fish called for in my recipes. I was considering whether to go for some tender-looking monkfish cheeks when I spotted some Prince Edward Island mussels for $3.99 a pound. Another mussel dish would be perfect for the warm, rainy weather, so I decided to go for those. I bought three pounds, and a small jar of salmon roe as a treat.

On the way back, I asked Husband J which mussel dish he would like among the four left in the book, and he decided on moules à la Portugaise, which features DELICIOUS CHORIZO in the sauce. I told him that his duty, then, would be to find some chorizo. He accomplished this easily by checking out a new charcouterie market that recently opened in our neighborhood, and happens to stock house-made chorizo. Brilliant! The chorizo he found was dry, but still the red, fresh chorizo that Tony prefers in his recipe, rather than the drier, white-mold covered dark chorizo favored by more traditional Portuguese cooks. I'd like to try the darker chorizo, but I'm not going to turn my nose up at local house-made chorizo, for sure.

Though the recipe calls for 6 lbs of mussels, and I bought 3 lbs (to feed 2 instead of 4), I decided to make the full recipe for the sauce, since that is after all the most delicious part.

First, I heated some olive oil in a large pot, and sauteed half an onion, six cloves of garlic, and two ounces of the chorizo. (The recipe calls for 1 oz, but I decided to double it, since Husband J bought an 8 oz link. That's a lot of leftover chorizo, and I am looking forward to some chorizo scrambled eggs in my immediate future.)

While those were cooking, I scrubbed and inspected the mussels, one at a time. Unlike the Whole Foods mussels, most of the BlackSalt mussels were tightly closed, or closed when I tapped the shell, signifying that they were alive. I tossed less than 1/5 of the mussels, making these a much better value.

Once the chorizo released its red, spicy scented grease, I added some white wine, salt, and pepper. Then I dumped in the mussels to steam under lid until they opened up.

A quick, blurry photo of mussels starting to steam.

After the mussels opened, I threw in a handful of chopped parsley and cilantro, shook the whole pot, and served it up with slices of french bread (again house-made from the charcuterie shop).

Well, one thing is for sure, I will never buy mussels from Whole Foods again. These mussels put the old ones to shame. These were very tender and meaty with a great subtle seafood flavor. The sauce was brilliant, filled with chorizo grease, and was very delicious when mopped up with the bread. Of course the slices of chorizo were probably the best part.

All in all, this was a great and easy meal for a rainy weekend afternoon.

Lessons Learned: Most importantly, that a good cook needs to know how to find great ingredients, whether it's from a shop that's usually out of reach or a new neighborhood joint with some delicious surprises. But next time I'll probably be more aggressive about finding out whether the fish I need is in the shop before going to the trouble of renting a car and traveling out to the shops.


Julia Child's Moules à la Marinière Will Make You a Shellfish Lover

Up until relatively recently I was deathly afraid of anything and everything shellfish. My irrational reasoning led to years of missed opportunities to dine on the sweet and briny flesh of everything from lobster to, you guessed it, mussels. That said, since I changed my tune (buttery herb-flecked roast crab was my entreé into the shellfish-lovers club), I've been making up for lost time.

I'm now a sucker for all things bivalve and crustacean but had yet to try my hand at shellfish cookery at home. It seemed only fitting to follow Julia Child's guidelines for moules à la marinière on my first at-home shellfish adventure her gentle but firm recipe guidance didn't fail to deliver.

Since these fruits de la mer have been so polarizing for me, I'm curious to know your feelings on shellfish. Do you love 'em or leave 'em?


Watch the video: Moules Frites (July 2022).


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