The good thing about mussels is you can eat them all year round! We French have many uses for them – gratin, omelette, stuffed, in soups, casseroles, in salads – but my favourite is the most traditional use of them: moules marinière. This Normandy classic is simple to cook at home, especially as you can now easily buy mussels that have already been cleaned and de-bearded.
For the mussels
very fresh good-quality mussels
dry white wine
small white onion, peeled and very finely chopped
roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley
Wash the mussels thoroughly in a bowl under cold running water, removing any barnacles and beards that are still present.
Discard any mussels that float, including those that are closed.
Drain the mussels in a colander.
Meanwhile, boil the wine in a small pan for 30 seconds.
“The secret, as ever, is in the freshness of the mussels. A fresh mussel is shiny, closed and heavy with seawater, with no ‘fishy’ smell.”
“For an Indian twist, add a generous pinch of Madras curry powder to the onion and finish the dish with lemon juice and freshly chopped coriander.”
“For a Thai flavour, add some chopped fresh chilli, garlic, lemongrass and a kaffir lime leaf; replace the cream with creamed coconut or coconut milk.”