Steamed Mussels & Garlic Bread by Erica Garlieb Photography
When I was in pastry school in the south of France, one of my favorite weekend activities was to stroll through the surrounding beach towns in search of the best moules frites (mussels and French fries). I don’t know if it was the French fries, the mandatory glass of lunchtime white wine, the fresh mussels straight from crystal-blue waters, or the small, round table barely large enough to hold two bowls, but I felt so French sitting by the Mediterranean Sea enjoying my little seafood meal.
This recipe of steamed mussels & garlic bread celebrates those flavors in an easier at-home pairing with toasted bread (great for soaking up the mussel-wine broth) seasoned with flavorful garlic. If you want to feel extra French, eat your bowl of steamed mussels as the French do: use a fork to pop out the first mussel, then use the empty shell as pinchers to pull out the rest of mussels. Then, stack the empty shells inside one another on the perimeter of your plate so you don’t have to hunt for the last morsel of mussel-y goodness.
Recipe: Steamed Mussels & Garlic Bread
By Chef Lindsay Kinder
- 1/2 a baguette (two slices per person)
- 1 garlic glove, peeled
- Olive oil
- Sea salt
- Black pepper
- 2 pounds mussels
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 large shallot, minced
- 2 lemons, 1 zested and 1 thinly sliced
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1/4 cup cream
- Sea salt
- Black pepper
- Flat leaf parsley, to garnish
For the garlic bread:
- Turn broiler on high.
- Slice baguette at a deep angle and brush liberally with olive oil.
- Sprinkle with salt and pepper and arrange on parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Broil for about 2 minutes or until deep golden-brown. Do not leave under broiler! Keep an eye on it – it can burn very quickly.
- Once toast is out of the oven, rub each piece with a garlic glove.
To prepare mussels:
- Soak mussels in cold water for 30 minutes to remove sand and grit. Gently lift mussels out of water and intro a strainer. If you pour the water and mussels out, you’ll just pour the grit back over them. Rinse well.
- Remove the beard: there will be a stringy membrane sticking out of most mussels. Yank it down towards the bottom of the mussel and discard. If it’s tough to remove, try using a paper towel for a better grip.
- Discard any cracked mussels.
- If you find any open mussels, tap them on the counter. If they do not close, discard. These mussels are already dead.
To prepare broth and cook mussels:
- In a medium, heavy-bottomed pot, melt butter of medium heat and add shallots and garlic to soften. Do not let them brown.
- Add lemon zest, wine, and pepper. Bring to a boil.
- Gently add mussels to pot and cover immediately. Cook for 1 minute, then shake the pot.
- Cook another 1-2 minutes or until the mussels are open. NOTE: Discard any mussels that do not open after cooking.
- Transfer mussels to a large bowl, leaving broth in the pot.
- Add heavy cream to pot and simmer for a few minutes to thicken. Do not boil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Separate mussels in two bowls. Pour broth over top.
Plate and serve steamed mussels & garlic bread asap:
Garnish with a round slice of lemon and a few sprigs of parsley. Add the slices of garlic bread to the side.