Monday, July 18, 2011

Fast & Fabulous: Moules Marinières & White Burgundy!

Moules Marinières!
This dish is a favorite in our house and I especially love making it during the Summer months. It is light, delicious and easy to prepare! 

This recipe for Moules Marinières (aka Mussels in White Wine) is from the Barefoot Contessa's, "Barefoot in Paris" cookbook. For the longest time I was under the impression mussels were difficult to make, but that couldn't be farther from the truth! When working with cultured mussels, simply rinse them under cool water just before cooking and remove any pesky "byssus" threads (fibrous strings that sometimes stick out of the shells) and you are all set. Mussels even have a built in self timer - if they are open, they're done. The most important thing to keep in mind when purchasing mussels is they have to be very fresh. They should be a glistening, shiny black color and the shells should be tightly closed. If you come across any that are open, a quick tap on the shell should cause them to close up again. If not, discard! Conversely, after cooking if any of the mussels have not opened, discard them as well.

Cultured PEI Mussels from Captain Clay's
For my local foodie friends, I purchased my mussels from Captain Clay's Fish Market in Delray Beach. They were cultured mussels from Prince Edward Island and were a lovely glistening black color and extremely fresh. When making this recipe, be sure to ask your fishmonger if you need to soak the mussels with the flour for the 30 minutes to get them to disgorge their sand as stated in the recipe. When dealing with cultured mussels such as the ones from Captain Clay's, you do not need to perform this step and soaking them could actually kill the mussels prematurely so definitely make it a point to ask.

A Nice Bath for the Mussels!
Once you have rinsed the mussels and prepped the garlic, shallots and thyme (which can all be done ahead), this is essentially a quick, one pot meal - 8-10 minutes and dinner is served! Be sure to serve the mussels with grilled bread that has been rubbed with a garlic clove. I love the way the garlic just melts into the hot bread and the delicious flavor goes so nicely with the heavenly sauce! 

As for wine (I know you were waiting for this part!), enjoy this dish with a Chardonnay like the Domaine Faiveley Montagny 2008. This white Burgundy has enticing notes of citrus, green apple and white flowers with just a hint of spice. It's crisp yet has a delightful creaminess to it and complements the mussels very nicely. As with most wines in France, this one is named for the area it is from: Montagny is the most southerly village in Côte Chalonnaise, bordering the Mâconnais region of Burgundy. 

I hope you enjoy this delicious duo - shellfish and white Burgundy are a fabulous match! Also, many wine regions, especially Burgundy, can be quite confusing and I'd love to hear any wine-related questions you might have. So please, ask away and by all means, don't be shy!


Moules Marinières (Mussels in White Wine)
from "Barefoot in Paris" by Ina Garten, 2004

6 1/2 pounds cultivated mussels

2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon good saffron threads
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons good olive oil
2 cups chopped shallots (10 to 15 shallots)
1/3 cup minced garlic (12 to 15 cloves)
1 cup chopped caned plum tomatoes, drained (8 ounces)
3/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup fresh thyme leaves
2 cups good white wine
4 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

To clean the mussels, put them in a large bowl with 4 quarts of water and the flour and soak for 30 minutes, or until the mussels disgorge any sand. Drain the mussels, then remove the "beard" from each with your fingers. If they're dirty, scrub the mussels with a brush under running water. Discard any mussels whose shells aren't tightly shut. Soak the saffron in 1/4 cup hot tap water for 15 minutes and set aside.

In a large (12-quart) nonaluminum stockpot, heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook for 5 minutes; then add the garlic and cook for 3 more minutes, or until the shallots are translucent. Add the saffron with the soaking water, the tomatoes, parsley, thyme, wine, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil.

Add the mussels, stir well, then cover the pot, and cook over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until all the mussels are opened (discard any that do not open). With the lid on, shake the pot once or twice to be sure the mussels don't burn on the bottom. Pour the mussels into a large bowl and serve hot with the bread. Serves six


  1. looks delicious and great tips on the soaking

  2. I was under the same impression - but I think I can try this recipe. I can almost smell the 'bath' from here. T
    Thanks for posting,

  3. I haven't cooked mussells in quite a while. This is one of the blessings of blogs, memory jogs. I'll be on the lookout for them. We just discovered a a fish market not too far from home and we need to pay them a visit.

  4. I love mussels but rarely make them at home since DH is not a fan. Whenever I have a chance to order them out I do. My favorite has saffron in it too. Someday, I'm going to make them just for myself! This sounds like a great recipe.

  5. I must admit, I've never tried mussels. You've made them look so delicious I might have to try them out.

  6. My all time favorite...mussels! We also have a wonderful fish market here locally, in West Palm Beach...plenty of fresh seafood and mussels.
    Love the mussels recipe, will for sure try it out.
    Thanks for sharing...have a wonderful Wednesday!


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