Years ago, I went to this incredible restaurant on the beach in San Tropez: Le Club 55. It was much smaller then, only a few tables, maybe 2 over stuffed white lounging sofas. All of them al fresco on San Tropez’s white powder beach and just mere feet from the turquoise water of the Mediterranean. It was the first time I ever had moules (mussels). Since then, I’ve always loved them, but I’ve never had the nerve to tackle them in the kitchen.
About once a week, my girlfriends Kriss, Claudie, and I used to meet up at our neighborhood coffee house to catch up. Or at least we did until Claudie moved to Chicago. (We miss you!!!) Anyway last spring before she moved, I shared with her my love of mussels but also my hesitation to make them. Claudie is from Marseille, France where they have amazing seafood and are well known for their mussels. She assured me they were incredibly easy to cook and said she’d show me how to make them. Sweeeeeet!!!
LOST IN TRANSLATION
Claudie sent me the recipe and, unfortunately, it wasn’t until I was standing at Bob’s Seafoodin St. Louis did I really take a close look at her recipe. It called for 10 kg of mussels. Uh… 10 kilograms? 10 kilograms? How many pounds is that? Let’s ask google! 20 POUNDS????Was she out of her flippin’ mind?!! Frantically, I texted her and asked her just that. In her adorable French accent, she was like, “What’s the big deal?” I mean, I love mussels and all, but really 10 bags of mussels? We decided to cut the recipe in half and I brought home 5 bags of mussels.
When she came over, she was shocked to see so many mussels! I know, right?!!! Apparently the mussels of Marseille have HUGE shells, about the size of your palm. The meat is about the same size, but the shells are so heavy you need 20 pounds to get enough for 4 people. Ahhh! The dawn of realization is a good thing.
MUSSELS INTO THE POT
First thing’s first. We gave the mussels a good rinse, dumped them in a big pot, and covered them with the lid. So far, intimidation level: 0. It didn’t take the mussels long to open up and release their liquor. Next, we rolled up our sleeves and Claudie proceeded to give me a lesson in the anatomy of a mussel.
If you’ve ever had a bad oyster or a bad mussel, and live through it, you don’t ever forget it. That was part of my extreme hesitation about cooking mussels. I asked Claudie while we started taking the mussels out of their shell, “Umm… how do you know if you should throw a mussel away?” In her French accent she said simply, “It looks… Wrong.” And then showed me a nice plump happy mussel and then a stringy gritty mess. Then she introduced me to the beard.
“Pinch the beard off and toss it away. Any of the mussels that have broken shells or didn’t open, throw those out too.”
We had a lovely afternoon releasing the mussels from their shells and we were both very happy I only brought home 10 pounds instead of 20.
This is a recipe inspired from my girlfriend Claudie's home town of Marseilles, France. A far cry from Marseilles, IL! It's a great way to enjoy parsley in a new and abundant way. This is an easy dish that's fast to whip up. It's Low Carb and Gluten Free too! | www.lakesidetable.com
Course Appetizer, Salad
a big bunch of fresh parsley
juice of 1 lemon
sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
large soup pot
medium serving bowl
knife and chopping block
Wash the mussels and discard any broken ones
Turn the stove on medium high and put all the mussels in a large dry soup pot, cover with a lid but leave space for the steam to escape.
After the pot starts to steam, steam them for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
While the mussels are steaming, chop the parsley, mince the garlic, and cut the lemon in 1/2.
Open each mussels, remove the beard, release the mussel from the shell, and put them in a bowl.
Gently toss the parsley and garlic into the mussels.
Squeeze the lemon over the parsley and mussels. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
What take the most time in this recipe, is debearding the mussels. If you can enlist the hands of a friend, it goes much faster and it's way more fun!
Aioli is a great dip, wonderful for sandwiches, chicken salad, or anywhere used normally use mayo. Uh... 'cause that's what it is. 🙂 Try it on these mussels! Easy and so good! | www.lakesidetablel.com
1 1/2teaspoonfresh lemon juice
3/4cupextra light olive oil
measure cups and spoons
bowl & whiskor mini food processor
Place the first 5 ingredients into your bowl, blender, or mini cuisine art. If using a bowl and whisk, vigorously whisk the ingredients together for approximately 45 seconds. The mixture should be well blended and bright yellow.
Slowly add the oil in drop by drop while constantly whisking. Do this for a 1/4 cup. This takes about 4 minutes if doing it by hand. In a blender or cuisine art, about 1 minute, but you won’t get near the forearm and biceps workout.
Gradually add in the rest of the oil in a slow stream. Again, if doing this with a bowl and whisk, it will take close to 8 minutes until it is thick and creamy. If using either of the other two devises, 3 or 4 minutes. It will be lighter in color. Cover and chill. You can make this up to 2 days ahead. Keep it chilled.
Raw eggs are not recommended for infants, elderly, pregnant women, or people with weakened immune systems. To avoid risk of salmonella use pasteurized egg yolk instead.
Herb mayonnaise – chop up fresh herbs and stir them in last. Try thyme, rosemary, and oregano either individually or all together. Basil is very good especially on a ripe tomato sandwich.
Roasted garlic aioli – mash roasted garlic and blend it into the mayonnaise.
Garlic aioli – finely mince 1 or 2 cloves of garlic and give it a good final blitz in the blender or food processor. Or for a more authentic provincial French take on it, mash the garlic with a mortar and pestle, add that to your egg yolks and lemon then whisk in your olive oil.
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Hi and thanks for coming by Lakeside Table
Coming up with ideas for what to make for dinner is thehardest part of cooking. That’s why I publish a new post with a new recipe every week. I love sharing easy dishes that will help you surprise and delight your loved ones around your table.
Everything here is inspired by our family stories, healthy living, and travels we’ve taken here and abroad. I hope they help you have fun in your kitchen too!