Recipe from Foolproof French Cookery by Raymond Blanc.
This Normandy classic has become a worldwide favourite, yet it is one of the simplest dishes to make at home. The key, as ever, is the freshness of the mussels. A fresh mussel is shiny, tightly closed and heavy with seawater, with no “fishy” smell.
If you find mussels like this, you will be in for a feast.
|1.8kg||Mussels- the best cleaned & beards removed|
|1||White onion, finely chopped|
|8 sprigs||Fresh thyme|
|100ml||Dry white wine|
|2 tbsp||Whipping cream|
|25g||Parsley flat leaf, picked,chopped roughly|
Cleaning the mussels
Wash the mussels under cold running water, but don’t scrub the shells or the colour will transfer to the juices during cooking, giving them an unappetizing grey appearance. If any of the mussels float it means they are not very fresh, so discard them (and ask your fishmonger to credit them). Press the shells of any open mussels together with your fingers; if they don’t close, discard them. Scrape off any barnacles from the mussels with a sharp knife and pull out the ‘beards’, then drain well.
Cooking the onion and herbs
Over a medium heat, in a large pan, soften the onion, bay leaves and thyme in the butter for 1 minute.
Cooking the mussels
Add the mussels and white wine, cover the pan tightly with a lid and cook for 4-5 minutes, until the mussels open.
Finishing the dish
Stir in the cream and chopped parsley, then serve in a large dish or 4 soup plates. Give finger bowls to your guests and lots of good French bread to mop up the wonderful juices.
Recipe from Foolproof French Cookery by Raymond Blanc, published by BBC Books.
Recipe © Raymond Blanc 2002.
Photograph © Jean Cazals 2015.