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.
For the mussels
very fresh good-quality mussels
dry white wine
small white onion, peeled and very finely chopped
roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley
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 open.
Drain the mussels in a colander.
Meanwhile, boil the wine in a small pan for 30 seconds.
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.
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.
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.