If you can, buy them in the morning and leave them in cold water for the day to give them a final wash. You should discard any that are broken, and any open ones should close when you tap them, if they don’t chuck them away – they’re dead. Then cut or pull off any rope (beards) left attached to the shell.
You can cook the mussels in batches if you only have small pans but remember to retain the stock for each batch.
Recipe for Moules Marinieres
A large pot with a lid (or a moules pot)
500g of fresh mussels in the shell per person
1 Large Onion
1 Head of Celery
2 or more Cloves of Garlic
Butter or Olive Oil
½ litre of water
1 glass of Dry White Wine
Optional Extras: Cream; apple juiceor still Cider or Calvados (apple brandy)
How to make Moules Marine
Rough dice the onion and celery and sweat them in your biggest pot with some olive oil (or butter).
Add the garlic and sweat the mix some more (you do not want to caramelise or colour any of this).
Add the water and a pinch of salt and the wine (check it’s up to standard first).
Add the bouquet Garni. Let it all come up to the boil and then add the mussels. Cover and simmer for about 5 minutes or until they have all opened. (Discard any that didn’t open during the cooking process).
Serve in bowls, cover with stock, sprinkle some fresh parsley over and eat with fresh baguette and good friends.
To give your moules dish a Normandy twist, add a splash of flat (not fizzy) cider, or better still Calvados (apple juice for those on a detox) and then a couple of tablespoons of cream. Always use heavy or double as single will split.
Chef Spencer Richards from Normandy Cooking Days