Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Moules Mariniere - East Coast Style

     I noticed that there are many Mussels Mariniere recipes on the internet.  Celebrity chef television recipes that add way too many extra ingredients for personal taste and some recipes that are totally wrong seem to be the offerings.  Mussels mariniere is supposed to be a very simple traditional French recipe.  Mussels mariniere is a standardized French recipe that is used to create many other traditional French recipes.  Moules Poulette is a good example of a recipe that calls for mussels mariniere as an ingredient.
     Mussels Mariniere is a very popular American seafood restaurant and yacht club favorite.  It is so simple, that many over zealous chefs miss the mark.  Along the American east coast, mussels mariniere is often finished with milk or cream, when it is served on its own.
     Why complicate perfection?  I learned not to add personal taste to recipes, but to respect tradition and accuracy when I apprenticed.  Even with added dairy products, this American style mariniere recipe is not fancy, but the end result is simply delicious!
     Moules Mariniere Recipe:
     Clean and debeard about 12 to 14 large mussels.
     Soak the mussels in salt water with corn meal.  (This will cause the mussels to expel any sand inside the shell.)
     Rinse the mussels with fresh water.
     Heat a saute pan over medium heat.
     Add 2 pats of unsalted butter.
     Add 1 minced garlic clove.
     Add the mussels.
     Saute and shake the pan for 30 seconds.
     Add 1/4 cup of dry white wine.
     Add 1 cup of fume.  (Fume is white fish broth.)
     Bring the liquid to a gentle boil.
     Poach the mussels in the boiling liquid for 1 minute, till they start to open up.
     Add 1 cup of l milk.  (Do not add milk or cream if the moules mariniere is to be used to create a secondary classic French recipe.)
     Add 1/4 cup of cream.
     Bring the broth back to a gentle boil.
     Reduce the temperature to medium low heat.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt and black pepper.
     Add 1 small pinch of nutmeg. 
     Simmer and reduce the cream broth for 3 to 4 minutes, till the flavor becomes rich.  The juices of the mussels will combine with the wine and milk broth to create a very nice aroma like an oyster stew.
     The mussels should be fully open by now. 
     Discard any mussels that did not open. 
     Arrange the mussels in a shallow soup bowl.
     Pour the broth over the mussels.
     Serve with French bread slices and a soup spoon.
     This recipe is simply delicious without unnecessary herbs and extra ingredients that are of personal taste!  Sometimes, "the simpler the better" does hold true.  The milk broth is rich with the aroma of mussels and white wine!  The classic clear fume version with no dairy products tastes equally as good.  This recipe only takes a few minutes to cook.  Mussels Mariniere is a throw back to the good old days of fine dining!  ...  Shawna

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