MOULES a la MARINIERE (Mussels in White Wine, Parsley, Shallots and Garlic)
Next to oysters, mussels are one of my favorite shellfish. Even back in the days when we’d cook it in soupy ginger sauce with chili leaves (dahon ng sili) or malunggay, I could eat a whole pot full of these. Grilled or baked with mayonnaise or shredded cheese topping, give me a plateful and I’d be in my own world for hours! At Chinese buffets, I always go for the mussels cooked in black bean sauce.
A couple of years ago, our annual summer party (read: DH birthday celebration) theme was French. The inspiration was our visit to my brother-in-law earlier that year in the South of France. We thought we’d convert our house into a French Bistro and serve bistro food! I made special wine labels and wrapped it around “2-buck Chuck” wine bottles. (I think I wasn’t supposed to reveal that but after the first bottle, I’m sure the guests can’t tell the difference anymore!). We served Quiche Lorraine, Beef Bourguignon, Gratin Dauphinois, Seafood Crepes, Salad Nicoise, Coq au Vin, Dessert Crepes, various Fromage and of course, Moules a la Mariniere! That was probably the only time I ran out of food at a party!! It was also the time Cafe Nilson was born. We named our place Cafe Nilson in keeping with the French Bistro and the name just stuck.
The photos above were taken during that party. I was going to make Moules a la Mariniere for this week’s LaPis but it is our wedding anniversary (I count 17, my husband counts 21…huh?!? oh yeah, we lived in sin for 4 years!) and the plan is to go out to dinner. Where? RED LOBSTER! I’m a cheap date. LOL. I just want to feast on lobster tails (however teeny weeny they are!), shrimp, crayfish tail….anything seafood that I didn’t make at home! (hey, does that count as a lot of pearly SHELLS?!?) With the weather being so gloomy today, we might end up having dinner at home. I may have to serve Moules a la Mariniere after all!
This recipe was from my stepson Matthew who unexpectedly passed away last year at the young age of 40. He loved food, any food. And cooked them like no other! This is one of his favorites and he gave me the recipe (actually, he researched recipes for the French party by eating at the local French restaurants in San Diego, taking home the menus and recreating the dishes!) to make for his Dad’s birthday party. Needless to say, it was a big hit. So I am sharing this in his honor. He’s probably “reading” this post and muttering, “More garlic!”
MATTHEW’S MOULES A LA MARINIERE (Mussels in White Wine, Parsley, Shallots and Garlic Sauce)
- 15 cups mussels, washed and brushed
- 4 tbs butter
- 4 shallots finely chopped
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley
- 1 bay leaf
- 8 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup white wine
- 1 sprig fresh thyme
- Melt butter in a casserole pan with a lid. Add the shallot and garlic to until softened.
- Add parsley, bay leaf and thyme. Cook for 30 seconds.
- Add the mussels and white wine. Cover. It will be cooked when you see steam coming out of the sides of the cover or when the mussels shells are open.
- Serve immediately or mussels will get overcooked and tough. Discard mussels that did not open.
When we were testing this dish, I mentioned to Matthew that in the Philippines, we simply cook the mussels in garlic, onion and ginger and the leaves of the chili plant and how I love to “slurp” the soupy sauce or dip pandesal in it. He looked at me and said, “..and that would have been my favorite way of serving this dish, too!” His Dad and I laughed, telling him how he’d say anything to get a free meal at our house. We sure miss him. He visited the Philippines with us several times and didn’t even blink when he tried balut and day-old chicks. It was one of the highlights of his trip. Since then, every Filipino he met in San Diego (or elsewhere), he’d talk about balut and mimick the balut vendor— Baluuuuuuuut! (Balut is a Filipino delicacy. A 15-day old fertilized duck chick, boiled and eaten in the shell. )