Moules Frites Recipe

Why It Works

  • Slowly sweating the shallots and garlic brings out their mellow sweetness, which enhances the contemporary, briny taste of the mussels.
  • The mussels’ juices add a savory depth of taste to the sauce.

Since welcoming our first youngster in August, my husband and I’ve relied on the quickest, best, bang-for-your-buck meals as a result of, as any new mother or father will inform you, we’re exhausted. A meal that ticks all of those packing containers? Moules frites, a Belgian meal of steamed mussels served alongside French fries and mayonnaise. It’s an inexpensive, scrumptious dinner that takes about half-hour from begin to end, and with an fragrant broth for sopping up with fries or chunks of bread, these briny little mussels make even essentially the most mundane weeknight really feel like an evening out at an area bistro.

Like many iconic dishes, the origins of moules frites are barely murky. Although Flemish folks have lengthy loved mussels on their very own, typically as a less expensive various to fish, it wasn’t till the 1800s that cooks started pairing the mollusc with French fries. In keeping with reporter Lukas Taylor, it was the widow of a person named Frédéric Krieger (who ran a “friterie,” a restaurant specializing in fries and quick food) who got here up with the thought to promote mussels and fries collectively. When Brussels hosted the World’s Honest in 1958, quite a few distributors bought moules frites, “solidifying its repute as Belgium’s go-to meal within the eyes of the world,” Taylor writes for The Brussels Times. Right now, the dish is a staple on bistro and tavern menus world wide—and with just some ideas and tips, you’ll be able to simply make a scrumptious model of it at dwelling.

The right way to Retailer and Prep Mussels for Cooking

If you have to bear in mind one factor about buying and storing mussels, it’s the brisker, the higher. Search for stay mussels which can be tightly shut, glistening, and saved on ice. As soon as useless, their shells open and so they’re susceptible to spoilage; to test in case your mussels are alive, faucet them calmly with one other mussel. If the mollusc doesn’t shut, it’s useless to you—and your meal—and must be disposed of. And when unsure, all the time belief your nostril. Contemporary mussels shouldn’t scent fishy or have any sort of robust odor. To not sound too idyllic, however they need to scent just like the contemporary ocean breeze. To maintain mussels as contemporary as potential, refrigerate them in a bowl positioned on prime of ice and hold them coated with a humid towel. This not solely retains the mussels cool, however will assist them retain moisture.

The peskiest a part of getting ready wild mussels is liberating them of particles. Most grocery shops, nevertheless, supply farm-raised mussels that develop on vertical ropes. In contrast to wild mussels, these arrive fairly clear. As Kenji talked about in his information on cleansing and debearding mussels, “farm-raised mussels are held in tanks previous to packaging and delivery, which signifies that the purging step—soaking the mussels in clear water till they spit out impurities—has already been finished for you.” 

You’ll nonetheless need to give them a fast rinse and scrub; merely place the shellfish in a big bowl or colander and run them beneath chilly water, utilizing your arms or a brush to calmly scour and rid the mussels of any grime. Although it’s unlikely farm-raised mussels will nonetheless have their beard—the stringy fibers that develop alongside the lip of the mollusc and assist them anchor themselves to ropes and rocks—if any stay, you’ll be able to simply take away them by pulling them firmly in direction of the hinge of the mussel.

Severe Eats / Jen Causey

French Fries: Contemporary or Frozen?

There’s a time and place for contemporary do-it-yourself fries, however a low-lift weeknight meal isn’t it. Please be assured that even Severe Eats editors—this drained mother, anyway!—will attain for frozen fries when the event requires it. When you have the power to make fries from scratch, nice! And if not, that’s additionally okay! There are many good choices within the frozen aisle on the retailer, and you’ll warmth them up within the oven or your air fryer. Actually, no matter is best for you. My solely piece of recommendation? Season them nicely, as a result of no one desires to eat bland potatoes. 

In the event you do go the do-it-yourself route and need to recreate the normal bistro expertise, you’ll most likely need skinny, crispy fries. However in the event you’re like me and like barely skinnier fries, Sho’s shoestring ones are the best way to go.

The right way to Put together Moules Frites

Moules frites are terribly easy to make, and far of the dish’s taste comes from the shellfish itself. However there are a number of methods we will improve this straightforward meal, particularly by sweating the aromatics, utilizing a little bit wine, and using the mussels’ juices within the sauce. 

Probably the most arduous a part of the cooking course of is the time it takes to sauté the shallots and garlic. When uncooked, each the alliums can have a harsh, pungent taste. It’s value slowly cooking them in butter for a number of further minutes. Because the greens soften, they may start to develop a nice, mellow sweetness that’ll complement the brininess of the mussels. Simply be sure to keep watch over the greens to keep away from browning; the objective is to sauté them as gently as potential. 

As soon as the shallots and garlic have softened, add a splash of dry white wine to the pot—whereas additionally pouring your self a glass, in fact—and cut back it for a number of minutes. This helps to not solely cook dinner off the alcohol, but it surely additionally concentrates the wine’s sugars and provides physique to the sauce. It’s the final step for the sauce earlier than the mussels go in, and as soon as they do, you’re simply 5 minutes out from having dinner on the desk. Give the mussels an excellent shake and allow them to steam; because the mussels cook dinner, they’ll launch their juices into the sauce, lending it a savory depth of taste. A contact of contemporary lemon zest and juice brings all of it collectively, and that’s all there may be to it. It’s loads of taste for not loads of effort. See: the most effective sort of dinner.

Severe Eats / Jen Causey

Editor’s Word

This recipe was developed by Melissa Grey; the headnote was written by Genevieve Yam.

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