Moules au Vin Blanc

November 16, 2009


Steamed Mussels

Local steamed mussels make for an easy and delicious meal. Serve with a simple salad, and there you have dinner. Mussels are a great source of protein, vitamin B12 and iron. The most classic and, I think best, preparation for them is steamed with white wine – moules au vin blanc. Sadly, we will have no frites. I bend the clean-eating rules a bit and add a large glug of white wine but you can leave it out if you’re more virtuous. I guess then you’d have to call this moules sans vin blanc.

Serves 2

2 pounds local mussels, cleaned*

1 teaspoon olive oil

2 shallots, minced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste

1 large glug of white wine, optional

1 lemon, juiced

1/4 cup fresh parsley or cilantro

2 cups fresh spinach, optional

Heat a large cast-iron pot over high heat and swirl in the olive oil. Add shallots and garlic, and sauté for about two minutes. Turn mussels into pot, taking care to not crack their shells. Add salt and white wine, if you’re using. Cover with lid and allow to steam for about 7 minutes. Lift off lid to add lemon juice, parsley or cilantro and spinach, if you’ve opted to put it in, and cover again. Allow to steam for a further 3 minutes or so. Lift lid and peer through the fragrant steam to see if most of the mussels have opened, discard any that haven’t. Stir carefully to distribute the greens and divide amongst two large dinner bowls. Serve with a fresh, crisp salad but not, unfortunately, with bread to sop up the flavourful broth. Take a moment to get over that, and the lack of fries while you’re at it, and use a spoon.

* After you bring your mussels home, you will need to wash and debeard them. This is simple: just rinse mussels under fresh water, and remove the beard – hairy vegetative growth – attached to the outside of the shell by giving it a quick tug. Also, if you are not cooking your mussels right away, keep them in the fridge in a bowl, covered with a damp tea towel. Do not store in a sealed bag, this will suffocate them.


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