Moules Marinière with Cream, Garlic and Parsley

Bring a taste of France to your table with Rick Stein's fabulous recipe for moules mariniere. A popular mussel recipe, often served with chips as moules frites.

Introduction

I was leafing through a new BBC poetry book, The Nation’s Favourite Poems of Desire, and I came across a poem by Elizabeth Garrett that subtly ties together the sensuality of eating mussels with your fingers. She describes cooking the mussels as follows:

‘I pour on wine; it seems they beg for more. The beaked shells yearning wide as if in song – Yet dumb – and lewdly lolling parrot-tongues. Cream licks the back of a spoon and drawls a slur of unctuous benediction for this feast. We smooth our cassocks; bow our heads; and eat.’

Serves 4

Ingredients

1¾kg (4lb) live mussels, cleaned
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
2 shallots, finely chopped
15g (½oz) butter
1 bouquet garni of parsley, thyme and bay leaves
100ml (3½fl oz) dry white wine
120ml (4 fl oz) double cream
A handful of parsley leaves, coarsely chopped

Instructions

If your mussels have not already been cleaned, you'll need to do this first. Watch this video guide from Rick Stein showing you how to do it.

Soften the garlic and shallots in the butter with the bouquet garni, in a large pan big enough to take all the mussels – it should only be half full. Add the mussels and wine, turn up the heat, then cover and steam them open in their own juices for 3-4 minutes, giving the pan a good shake every now and then.

Remove the bouquet garni, add the cream and parsley and remove from the heat. Spoon into 4 large warmed bowls and serve with lots of crusty bread.

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