Saturday, August 18, 2012

Master of the Mussels

Moules Frîtes - steamed mussels and french fries being something close to a national dish in France, I am more often than not surprised how it is  sloppily thrown together not very well prepared. Just pouring some white wine over the mussels, adding a few onions and a bay leaf just doesn't cut it and then the fries are lukewarm and pale - well, you get the picture.
But there are exceptions. I think we ate the very best mussels ever (à la plancha and marinated in a garlicky herby mustard sauce) on a bull farm in Camargue - a dish we still dream of and never found as good again.
But now we were invited to the Master of the Moules. Moules Marinières - cooked by our friend and neighbor Claude on his BBQ. 15 kilos of fresher than fresh, big, fat and juicy mussels. What a feast! And I was so fascinated by the slow and very precise preparation I never got around taking photos of the fries - dark, crunchy, home made proper french fries. How come we never get them like that in restaurants? Would you believe it - 11 people managed to eat all 15 kilos of mussels. La vie est belle - life is good!
Mussels on the BBQ - Ice and all
Claude  - the Master of the Mussels

15 kilos of fresh mussels cooked on the BBQ in a custom made pan
with lots of chopped flat leaf parsley and shallots and white wine

Later there was a bit of trouble with a cork that went into the bottle and had to be filtered....

.... before our host presented the digestif - his home made herb liquor



  1. Wow, they must have been great for 11 of you to polish off 15 kg... plus frites. We sell lots of mussels at Bistro Des Copains, we change the preparation and rotate between moules marinières, moules à la provençale, moules au safran, and moules dijonnaise.

  2. when i lived in ireland i would harvest the best mussels and no one there could believe i ate them. all mine for the taking! what a feat you had!

  3. I just cooked them last night in Maine! They were so sweet! Looks like you enjoyed yourself too! I'm your newest follower!!!

  4. Gosh, what a wonderful way to enjoy mussels. I love the way they have been done and I certainly believe you they were delicious.
    Well done to Claude!

  5. Barbara, what a meal to share with friends. I certainly would have been able to eat my share, as would Dale.

  6. I love mussels and would love to know the recipe for that Digestif!

    1. Tim, I asked Claude and it is a branch or two of juniper berries left to macerate in 80% alcohol.

  7. envy reigns here .>) lucky you, imagine mussels on the bbq I'd never have thought! Beautiful yummy photos...

  8. What a gorgeous feast Barbara, please tuck in for me too!:)