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|
|A Nice Bath for the Mussels!|
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