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Recipe for Moules Marinière

Recipe for Moules Marinière which means mussels mariner style.

It is a traditional French dish that originated in Normandy (it is claimed) and is widely served throughout France but particularly in coastal towns.  Make absolutely sure to clean the mussels properly and debeard them before you cook them – it’s horrible to chew sand particles if they’re not properly prepared.  Don’t scrub the muscles too much though as they will make the dish have a grey look and spoil the presentation.  Always check that the mussels smell salty and of the seaside and not of amonia.  The mussels should be sold live and their shells should be shut – if they are slightly open just tap them against something – if they close that’s fine, if they don’t they may be dead and not good to eat so discard them.

Did you know that the orange flesh mussels are female and the whiter flesh ones are male?

Ingredients for 2 people

1kg/2 lbs mussels

50ml/2fl oz dry white wine

1/2 tbsp unsalted butter

1 small onion, very finely chopped

2fresh bay leaves

4 sprigs fresh thyme

1tbsp whipping cream

1tbsp chopped fresh flatleaf parsley


1. Wash the mussels under cold running water and remove barnacles and beards (the hairy bits).  Chuck out any mussels which float or stay open when if you tap them against something.

2. Boil the wine in a small saucepan for 30 seconds then put to one side

3. Melt the butter in a large pan over a high heat, add the onion, bay leaves and thyme, pour in the wine you set aside and bring to the boil.

4. Add the mussels, cover and cook for 2-3 minutes or until the mussels open. (Throw away any mussels that do not open.)

5. Add the cream and parsley and stir until well mixed.

Serve the mussels – the traditional way – with French fries and French bread.

Eat them the French way, use an empty mussel shell a pincer to pull the mussels from their shells.  You can use half a mussel shell as a spoon when you’re finished to eat the sauce from the pot.

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