Easy Moules Marinière

  • Time: 30 minutes
  • Serves: 2
  • Level: easy

‘Mum and Dad have always loved mussels, but it took me a while to understand the buzz! But now I just can’t get enough of them! Though this French classic isn’t that tricky to make. Find yourself a good supplier of mussels and you’ll be done in 30 minutes. Of course this dish goes perfectly with yummy crusty bread.’

'Since our trip to Belgo Centraal in Seven Dials, it only seems right that Dad should teach us how to make Moules Marinière.'

What you need

1kg mussels

2 shallots chopped finely

1 stick of celery

1 or 2 garlic cloves finely sliced

50g chopped pancetta slices (optional)

125ml white wine, light chicken stock or water

Chopped parsley



Dad's Recipe Tales

Mrs WDC and I love Moules Marinière. But not so our boys – and some of their partners – or Mrs WDC’s best friend – or my brother-in-law’s best friend (who is lethally allergic to them) – or endless other people we know… With so many people adverse to their attributes as well the population’s general susceptibility to seafood toxins, it’s a wonder that anybody attempts eat then at all – or that Belgo Central ever got off the ground. The answer is simple. The reason people eat them is because they taste so good.

I have never veered from the classic marinière method. I can’t imagine a better liquor than the juices of mussels steamed in white wine. But judging by one seaside restaurant we saw in Brittany listing over 50 ways to eat moules – or Belgo Centraal who boast 10 varieties, perhaps I am missing out. I don’t think so. A mussel is a delicate thing – its subtle sweet taste is best unadorned with the likes of kimchi, cream, chorizo, chilli or what have you…

Frites with moules is a good idea. But mainly because frites with anything is a good idea. Frites or no frites, crusty French bread is an ideal accompaniment. A light salad adds some healthy greenery to the affair – but really a big bowl of moules is quite good just on its own.

Now the big question – should we eat mussels in May? Does Belgo Centraal only open in months with an ‘r’? My mussels were supplied by farms in Shetland which are certified and strictly monitor the harvest – suppliers tend to put the mussels in purifying tanks and treat with ultra violet. I am assured they are fine to eat throughout the year.

How Dad Cooked It

Store mussels in a bowl covered with damp newspaper at the bottom of the fridge, clean them in a large bowl of cold water, scrape off any large barnacles (rarely present on farmed varieties) and pull off the beard. Discard any that are cracked or do not close tight when tapped. Drain the mussels and cook soon after.

To make moules marinière finely chop one or two shallots and a stick of celery. Finely slice a small garlic clove and the pancetta. Fry all this for a few minutes in a little oil in a large pan – an old non-stick wok is ideal. Turn the heat up high and add a glass of white wine – when it is boiling toss in the mussels. Cook with the lid on for a few minutes, take off the lid and shake and toss the mussels, put the lid back on and continue like this until the mussels have all opened and are steaming hot.

NB: Check the mussels after cooking – any that have not opened should be discarded.

Throw in a large handful of chopped parsley and toss again, season with pepper and lemon to taste. Put into a large bowl and serve from this – or put into large bowls and take to the table, serve with crusty bread and a small salad (optional) – or frites!

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