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French Fridays with Dorie: Moules marinière

Dorie Greenspan Moules Marinière on eatlivetravelwrite.comIt’s not often I am stuck for words but for this week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe (Moules Marinière, p 312), I actually don’t have very much to say. I am not a fan of mussels, well actually, I just don’t eat them at all. Even though I spent a year living in Brussels where it’s one of their most well-known dishes (and where I was made to try many!), I’ve never liked them so they make very rare appearances in our household (much to Mr Neil’s chagrin!) – and mostly when I am not around! Nonetheless, I couldn’t very well miss a week of FFWD just because I don’t like something now, could I? Especially when there’s someone who was more than willing to act as a taster!  And fortunately, I was able to buy 1lb of mussels at our local fishmonger for just $3.50! Bargain!

Now, I’ve obviously never cooked these so this was a bit of a learning experience for me.  I know that they are supposed to be done when the shells open in the heat of the pot – Dorie suggests around 3 minutes – and, having no other benchmark to go by, I pulled these off the heat after around 4 minutes, quickly took the picture and served them to Neil who promptly pronounced them “borderline” cooked. Not knowing what else to do, I put them back in the pan on high heat for 2 more minutes (hey, I wanted to be really sure they were done!) and served them again (not entirely sure this is up there with “health and safety approved moves in the kitchen”…) and they were done.  And after all that, these were just “ok”. As I was cooking them, I thought that maybe the broth might be a bit bland (I didn’t use the stock cube the recipe calls for because how do you 1/4 a quarter of a stock cube?) and just added salt instead. But not enough. I also thought there was not enough broth (that’s half the fun, isn’t it – sopping up the broth with baguette?) – next time I would add more wine and I would use a little bit of stock as well as some cream, à la Raymond Blanc.

But here’s the main point – I actually would make them again. They are easy – I’d just have to make sure a mussel-eater taste them to make sure they were cooked ;) – and they would be perfect for a dinner party of mussel-lovers. And of course, with mussels I’d make frites. Which I’d be MORE than happy to nibble whilst everyone else was eating their mussels :)

 

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51 Responses to French Fridays with Dorie: Moules marinière

  1. Mr. Neil January 24, 2014 at 07:51 #

    For a non-moules eater…a valiant first attempt.

    “Okay”, was probably a direct quote. I really enjoy mussels, so I have to say – an afternoon lunch of these to watch some Australian Open tennis seemed more than a tad decadent! :-)

    Of course reading the above, it’s a bit obvious: the stock would have helped the seasoning immensely. That’s really all this needed – some seasoning.

    But as easy and impressive dinner-party fare, would be great. Of course, with said frites and home-made mayonnaise with a hint of Dijon…mmmm.

  2. Cher January 24, 2014 at 08:51 #

    I am sure your first shot at these was far better than you are giving yourself credit for.

    We had sweet potato wedges (among other things) and I think I could make a meal of just the mussels and wedges.

    P.S. I needed way more time than called for in the recipe to get these to fully open up – it wasn’t you :-)

  3. Trevor Sis. Boom. January 24, 2014 at 10:35 #

    Its always hard for me to imagine you with food issues or foods you dislike as you are so good at making and presenting them. For me the recipe suffered from me not being in Europe to enjoy them. That and that I have mussels recipes that other exciting things in that lovely broth that I like more than this classic prep. Also, you have reminded me here that mine took a full 5 minutes to open. I thought for a minute that mine were all bad….but they just needed more time to open.

    • Mardi Michels February 2, 2014 at 12:20 #

      Indeed, Europe was the missing ingredient here!

  4. Sara January 24, 2014 at 11:44 #

    Man, now I feel kind of terrible for skipping the recipes that feature stuff I know I don’t like. Ah, well. ;) My mussels probably could have used a little more cooking time too; three minutes seemed really short to me. All I know is, after this experience, I’m definitely serving my next batch with fries!

    • Mardi Michels February 2, 2014 at 12:20 #

      Oh don’t feel bad – I am just like that! And yes, fries with mussels, always!

  5. Coco in the Kitchen January 24, 2014 at 12:36 #

    I’ve never had mussels.
    Time to get crackin’!
    Happy Friday, Mardi!

  6. Liz January 24, 2014 at 14:49 #

    Well, thank goodness Mr. Neil likes mussels! I think I liked these even better than our other FFwD mussels recipe. Bill calls them bottom feeders…so appetizing :/

  7. Kathy January 24, 2014 at 16:49 #

    I am with you on this one Mardi…I just don’t like clams or mussels! The broth definitely needed the bouillon, which I forgot to add. When my hubby pointed out that the broth could have used more salt, I realized my mistake. I enjoyed dipping my bread into it! Have a good weekend!

    • Mardi Michels February 2, 2014 at 12:19 #

      Definitely a little more “ooomph” was needed!

  8. Nana January 24, 2014 at 16:50 #

    Mussels in Brussels is the reason hubby will not touch them. He was very sick after eating
    a big pot over there and refuses to try again. Not pretty, especially on vacation. Good for
    you for try something you are not familiar with. When I cook them at
    Christmas time, I cook them for longer than 8 minutes. Of course, it is usually 4 lbs
    which would take a bit longer anyway.

  9. Cakelaw January 24, 2014 at 17:36 #

    LOL – at least your verdict is that you would make them again. And Mr Neil will love that!

  10. Mary Hirsch January 24, 2014 at 21:55 #

    I made these two years ago, Mardi, when I first joined FFWD. Of course, it was a mistake. I was supposed to make the Chorizo and Mussels. Anyway, I just decided to do them again and, like you, I found the broth very, very bland. I didn’t half anything. I used for 2 pounds of mussels what Dorie suggested for four pounds. Maybe the broth needed more salt. Maybe more boullion cubes. Maybe a different white wine. I just don’t know. As good as the mussels were this time, they were not as good as I remember two years ago. But then, again, maybe it’s because I used Andria’s gift to me of Sriracha Sea Salt on the french fries and they were absolutely heavenly. Try the mussels again when Mr. Neil wants to feel decadent and, if you improve the flavor, please let me know.

    • Mardi Michels February 2, 2014 at 12:18 #

      I’ll definitely be making these again with more flavour!

  11. Rose January 25, 2014 at 05:48 #

    I can recommend Anthony Bourdain’s recipe for longer cooking times and more flavorful sauce. I will be pulling it out soon because I’m still having a craving for mussels which this week’s disaster didn’t satisfy.

  12. TheKitchenLioness January 25, 2014 at 07:29 #

    Mardi, what a cute presentation – love the picture. We always serve rather huge pots full of them (kind of the same way the Dutch and Belgians enjoy eating them) but the moules marinières look so much prettier served your way!
    Have a nice weekend!

    • Mardi Michels February 2, 2014 at 12:17 #

      Well it’s hard to serve a huge pot when you only make a few ;)

  13. Diane Balch January 25, 2014 at 09:39 #

    A year in Brussels and no mussels… if only I could have traded places with you. I can understand their lack of appeal… is you study them too long you can gross yourself out and they are…well, a bit chewy… but I’ve alway been into that sort of stuff. You are trooper making something you really don’t like.

  14. @LaCuisineHelene January 25, 2014 at 10:35 #

    I lived in the Maritimes for 8 yrs and really got to appreciate mussels. They were everywhere. I don’t make them often at home but I like them a lot.

  15. Christy @ Confessions of a Culinary Diva January 25, 2014 at 15:53 #

    We loved these, which is always good since Sous Chef doesn’t always love FFWD. I used Dories secret ingredient and I thought it could still use a little zazzle – though, after reading Trevor’s post I realize the missing ingredient was eating them in Paris.

  16. yummychunklet January 25, 2014 at 19:39 #

    Well, I’m glad you tried them! Now I want to re-read what you thought of our prior mussels with chorizo assignment!

  17. betsy January 25, 2014 at 20:49 #

    I’m always amazing how reasonably priced mussels are. And so tasty (if you like them). Frites sound like a great accompaniment. I’m going to do that next time. I like how the mussels tell you they are ready by popping themselves open.

  18. Maria @ Box of Stolen Socks January 26, 2014 at 16:48 #

    Oh how I sympathise with you Mardi! I hate mussels and my husband loves them but I never cook them and he complains (you can always ask your mother to make them for you is my answer) I will always associate mussels with Brussels (not my favourite place in the world!) but I do like the pomme frites and the mayonnaise that accompanies them :) :)

    • Mardi Michels February 2, 2014 at 12:16 #

      Really – I LOVED living in Brussels! And yes, those frites-mayonnaise…. :)

  19. Geraldine Saucier January 26, 2014 at 16:59 #

    Great job for your first time cooking mussels:)

  20. Guyla January 26, 2014 at 20:12 #

    Very valiant Mardi! Are you the only person who hasn’t missed a single recipe? Your mussels look very good. I’ll get them done eventually.

    • Mardi Michels February 2, 2014 at 12:15 #

      I believe I am the only person who has not missed a week yet, yes! And thanks!

  21. My Traveling Troop January 27, 2014 at 05:05 #

    We are huge fans of mussels, so we’ll eat any you don’t want! He, he. :)

    Cheers,
    Kristina

  22. FrenchVillageJacqui January 28, 2014 at 06:46 #

    Hello, moules are a summertime favourite here and something we buy every Friday from the local market when in season which is usually May/June until the frosts and fogs hit in Nov. I have never heard of adding either stock or salt. We sautée an onion, garlic and fresh thyme in butter. When softened add a glass of white or rosé wine and make sure it gets very hot before adding the moules. Replace lid immediately as it is the steam that cooks and opens them. The flavour is delicious so we don’t add cream, but you can for a richer sauce and a handful of chopped parsley is nice too. Cooking time is aprox 5 mins. The salt water the moules release should mean adding salt isn’t necessary, but it is a personal thing! The leftover liquid makes a delicious stock that I use to cook a whole chicken in the slow cooker.
    Jacqui

    • Mardi Michels January 28, 2014 at 06:50 #

      Mmm – that sounds like a wonderful recipe (even for me who doesn’t eat moules!)As I said, this recipe was followed to a T (more or less) because 1. Working our way through the book and 2. Never cooked moules before. Printing your comment because my Mr Neil would love them cooked like this!

      • FrenchVillageJacqui January 28, 2014 at 07:53 #

        I hope he likes them. I think our recipe originally came from Raymond Blanc, but I am the WORST person in the world for following a recipe to a T. I admire you for working your way through a book, not sure I could do it!

  23. Amy Andrews January 28, 2014 at 15:08 #

    Your pictures in the pot look festive — so good of you to play along even though you’re not a fan. (And isn’t it kinda fun to have an excuse to eat bread, or frites, or both for dinner?!)

  24. Viviane Bauquet Farre - Food and Style January 28, 2014 at 20:33 #

    Thanks for sharing your story, Mardi. I was laughing! Anyway, it sounds like it was a good learning experience and I think they look great.

  25. Jamie Sarner January 30, 2014 at 04:49 #

    I always find it safer to dine out when craving mussels. Your post might actually encourage me to put on my apron and try to prepare them at home! The picture looks good too. Thanks for the tip!

    • Mardi Michels February 2, 2014 at 12:14 #

      They are definitely not as difficult as I thought!

  26. jora February 5, 2014 at 11:06 #

    I keep trying but just can’t seem to learn to like mussels. It’s something about the texture. I do love the broth, though, and can always get excited about frites.

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