Moules Marinières Frites Mussels

Moules Marinière

Moules Marinière – a dish that might conjure up quintessential images of holidayers in France, fishing into a briny, bottomless pan with one hand and clutching a glass of crisp Chablis in the other. Not a dish you might consider eating at home? Think again. This dish is cheap and simple to put together, it’s also arguably more enjoyable to eat also from the comfort of your own dining table. This is one to get stuck into with sleeves rolled up and elbows on the table. 

Nerd notes: Moules Marinière, otherwise know as Moules-Frites originated in Belgium. ‘Marinière’ means ‘like a sailor’, in other words, a rustic, fresh, filling meal that can be rustled up dockside after an expedition at sea…Or another routine less day of working from home.

Moules Marinière

Moules Marinière

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Course: Lunch, DinnerCuisine: French, BelgiumDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time




  • 2 kg fresh, live mussels

  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped

  • 2 banana shallots, finely chopped

  • 20 g butter

  • 1 bouquet garni (bay leaf, thyme, and parsley stalks tied up with string)

  • 200 ml dry white wine or cider

  • 100 ml double cream

  • Small handful parsley, leaves picked and finely chopped

  • Crusty bread or French fries to serve


  • Begin by preparing the mussels. Start by pulling the ‘beards’ off them, and kicking off any barnacles with the back of a chef’s knife. It is important to get any residual sand out of them, so wash them in a bowl and sieve through enough changes of water until the water remains clear. Discard any mussels that have broken shells, or that do not immediately close under light pressure.
  • In a large, heatproof casserole dish, add the mussels, shallots and half the butter. Pour in the wine and add the bouquet garni. Cover with a lid, and cook over a high heat for 5 mins until the mussels have all opened. Shake the casserole a few times during the cooking.
  • Lift out the mussels with a slotted spoon, pull off one half of their shells and discard. Keep two shells whole to use as eating pincers for each of the two diners.
  • Pour the cooking liquor into a saucepan, leaving the last bit behind as it may contain sand. Bring the sauce to the boil, whisk in the remaining butter and add half the parsley.
  • Divide the mussels between two bowls (pasta-size bowls are useful for this), and pour the hot sauce over, but don’t drown the mussels too much. Sprinkle with the remaining parsley.
  • Serve with crusty bread to dip in the cooking liquor.
  • Begin by preparing the mussels. Discard any open ones then pull the ‘beards’ out – the fibrous bits protruding from between the shells. Knock off the barnacles with the back of a knife and give them a good rinse under cold water.

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