Looking for the Best Moules Marinieres

Debbie and I love going to Mon Ami here in Reston. In addition, we adore their Moules Marinieres and will go there just to eat that dish along with a bottle of wine (or at least that is what we tell ourselves before we end up ordering a full meal). We have made mussels at home several times but still have not found the right mix of flavors to recreate our favorite dish there.

One of my favorite food sites Serious Eats posted a recipe that looked great The Best Moules Marinières (Sailor-Style Mussels) and I wanted to give it a try just to see if we could get closer to the mussels we like so much at Mon Ami. This recipe was close but not quite the flavor profile we are searching for… thus our quest for the best Moules Marinière continues.

Moules Marinieres
Moules Marinieres

The quest for the Best Moules Marinière

First we start of with the Mise En Place…

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 small leek, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
  • 1 small shallot, thinly sliced
  • 4 medium cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • salt and black pepper
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 pounds mussels
  • 3 tablespoons half and half
  • 1 tablespoon juice and 1 teaspoon grated zest from 1 lemon
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
  • Crusty French Bread for dipping!
Prepping for the Moules Marinières
Prepping for the Moules Marinières

Next, I added a tablespoon of butter in my saucepan and placed it over medium-low heat. Next came the leeks, shallot, garlic, and bay leaves. Season with salt and black pepper and then cook continuously stirring until the vegetables browned slightly.

Sautéing the garlic and leeks
Sautéing the garlic and leeks

I increased the heat to high and added the wine. From there I brought everything to a boil reducing the liquid by half.

Bringing the ingredients to a boil
Bringing the ingredients to a boil

Next I added the mussels stirring everything together and then covered the pot.

Adding the mussels
Adding the mussels

From there I started shaking the pot constantly and looking every now and again to stir the mussel mixture. As soon as all the mussels opened I transferred the mussels to a bowl using a slotted spoon. I placed a pan lid over bowl to keep mussels warm while I finished the sauce.

Removing the sauce from the heat I whisked in the remaining butter along with half and half. Once the butter melted I returned the mussels to pot, added the parsley, lemon juice, and lemon zest. I stirred everything together and then transferred all of it to a serving bowl.

All done and served
All done and served

The toasted French Bread helped sop up the buttery sauce and the Conundrum White Wine we had paired nicely with this dish.

Great white wine with dinner
Great white wine with dinner

Next time I would change a few things about this recipe to get it closer to the flavor profile of the mussels at Mon Ami. First, I will not use the parsley as it gave the sauce a bitter taste. Next, I would mince the garlic instead of slicing  maybe even add a little more (you can never have enough garlic). Another thing is the lemon and lemon zest added too much acidity to the sauce and that took away from it’s creamy goodness. Finally, I would use crème fraîche or Heavy Cream in place of the half and half to make the sauce a bit richer in flavor.

Enjoy!

Moules Marinière
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Great Sunday night dinner!
Author:
Recipe type: Seafood
Cuisine: French
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 small leek, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
  • 1 small shallot, thinly sliced
  • 4 medium cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup hard dry cider or white wine
  • 2 pounds mussels (see note above)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons homemade mayonnaise (see note above), crème fraîche, or heavy cream (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon juice and 1 teaspoon grated zest from 1 lemon
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
  • Additional homemade mayonnaise for serving (optional, see note above)
  • 1 loaf rustic sourdough bread, thickly sliced, drizzled with olive oil, and broiled until heavily toasted
Instructions
  1. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add leeks, shallot, garlic, and bay leave. Season lightly with salt and heavily with black pepper and cook, stirring, until vegetables are very soft but not browned, about 10 minutes.
  2. Increase heat to high and add cider or wine. Bring to a boil and let reduce by half, about 2 minutes. Add mussels, stir, cover, and cook, shaking pan constantly and peeking every 30 seconds to stir. As soon as all the mussels are open, transfer mussels to a bowl using tongs. Place pan lid over bowl to keep mussels warm.
  3. Remove from heat and whisk in remaining butter along with mayonnaise or crème fraîche (if using). Return mussels to pot, add parsley, lemon juice, and lemon zest, stir to combine, then transfer to a warm serving bowl. Serve immediately with additional mayonnaise (if using) and broiled bread.

 

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