Category: White Wine

Moules Marinieres

Today we are heading back into The A-Z of Cooking to the chapter called Wine For a Change.  And on the menu is the classic French dish of Moules Marinieres.  This is one of my favourite dishes.  I probably make this around once a month – it ticks all my boxes – it’s healthy, it’s quick and it’s cheap and so, so, tasty!  Over the years my recipe has evolved so now I have my favourite version of Moules Marinieres which I will list below alongside a more pared back version from The A-Z.  
Moules Marinieres
Before we get into the Moules lets talk about this chapter.  Wine for a Change.  Not around here it isn’t. Around here it’s a basic food group.  So there goes that title.  There are some good recipes in this section.  The Moules, Coq au vin, Peaches in Wine….oh and veal kidneys with Marsala. 

You can’t win ’em all. (Sigh)

If the thought of veal kidneys with anything isn’t off-putting enough on its own, the picture is truly unsettling (It’s also at the very bottom of this post if you are brave enough). 

Moules Marinieres loosely translates as Sailor’s Mussels.  Be careful of your spelling if googling this.  You could end up with this: 

Hot damn! Ladies (and possibly gentlemen), don’t ever say I don’t give you anything.  Merry Christmas.  Happy Birthday and Goodnight Irene!

Where were we?  I seem to have lost my entire train of thought.  

Oh yeah, mussels.  The thing that takes the longest with the Moules Marinieres is all your prep work.  First you have to debeard and scrub all of your mussels.

Then cut up your veggies for your mirepoix  I use carrot, celery, fennel and onion in mine.  And for seasoning salt (I used the Port infused salt I bought in Portugal) peppercorns, a pinch of chilli flakes and a smashed garlic clove.

Mirepoix2

 

Cook these down then add some white wine and a splash of Pernod (optional but goes really well with the fennel and the mussels).  Cook these down a bit – the longer the better! Then add wine, Pernod if using and stock and bring to the boil.  Add the mussels.  Add a lid.  Shake the pan occasionally and in all of about 5 minutes you will have a piping hot bowl of mussels with a deliciously tasty broth.  

Moules Marinieres are great with bread to soak up all that broth.  And if that bread happens to be a tasty warm loaf of crusty garlic bread?  Heaven…I”m in heaven….

This time though I made mussels other best friend…frites.  With aioli.  Hard to tell from the pictures but there were three types of frites – potato, sweet potato and parsnip. 

Frites

 

The great thing about this recipe is that it is amenable to all sorts of changes.  Don’t like cream?  Don’t add it.  I quite often will throw in a can of tinned tomatoes.  Also, (and this is where i am sure I will have the purists tutting at me) if you can’t be arsed debearding and scrubbing the mussels, most supermarkets now sell frozen mussel meat.  I  always have a pack of this in my freezer so can whip this up at any time.  One codicil on that though.  The shells on fresh mussels do seem to add some extra flavour.  If using mussel meat alone be sure to use a really good fish stock in your broth!

Here is the original recipe from The A-Z of Cooking and the original picture.  I cannot tell you how much I  love and covet that terracotta mussel pot.  Straight to the top of my list of kitchen must haves!!!  

Moules Recipe

Moules A-Z

And here is my slightly fancier version:

Moules Marinieres (With Frites)
A classic French seafood dish
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For The Mussels
  1. 4 dozen mussels
  2. 125 ml dry white wine (I used a semillon sauvignon blanc)
  3. 250ml fish or vegetable stock
  4. 1 bouquet garni
  5. 1 carrot finely diced
  6. 1/2 fennel finey diced
  7. 2 stalks celery finety diced
  8. 1 snall red onion finely diced
  9. 1 garlic clove, crushe
  10. 6 black peppercorns
  11. 1/2 tsp chilli flakes (optional)
  12. salt
  13. 3 tbsp cream
  14. 1 tbsp chopped parsley
For the Frites
  1. 2 potatoes julienned
  2. 1 large sweet potato, julienned
  3. 3 parsnips, julienned
  4. Olive oil
  5. Salt
For the Aioli
  1. 3 cloves of garlic, roasted with the frites for 15 minutes
  2. 2 egg yolks
  3. 1 tbsp lemon juice
  4. 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
  5. 1/2 cup olive oil or a blend of olive and vegetable oil
  6. Salt and Pepper
For The Frites
  1. Preheat the oven to 200 C.
  2. Toss the julienned veggies and 3 cloves of unpeeled garlic (for the aioli) into a bowl with a glug of olive oil, and some salt.
  3. Spread in a single layer on a baking tray and bake for 15 – 30 minutes (depending on size of the fries) or until golden brown, flipping halfway through. At the half way mark, remove the garlic cloves and make the aioli.
For The Aioli
  1. Squeeze the roasted garlic from the skins and add to a foo processor with the egg yolks, lemon juice and mustard until combined and smooth.
  2. With the food processor running add the oil in a thin stream until the mixture becomes thick and creamy.
  3. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary.
For the Mussels
  1. Scrub and debeard the mussels, discarding any that are open or have holes in them. Run cold water over them and drain.
  2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the carrots, fennel, onion and celery, salt, pepper and chilli if using and stir occasionally until softened (around 5 minutes).
  3. Add the wine, stock pernod and boquet garni. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for around 5 minutes.
  4. Add the mussels to the pan. Close the lid and cook for around 5 minutes or until the mussels have opened, shaking the pan every now and again.
  5. Remove the mussels from the pan and keep warm.
  6. Turn up the heat on the liquid left in the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes until the sauce has reduced by about a third.
  7. Check for seasoning and add more salt if necessary.
  8. Swirl in the cream.
  9. Pour the sauce over the mussels, sprinkle with the parsley and serve with the frites and aioli.
  10. Bon Appetit!
Notes
  1. This dish originates from the Normandy region of France. Another variation that is true to the region is to sub out the white wine and pernod and to use cider instead!
Retro Food For Modern Times http://www.retrofoodformoderntimes.com/
So, there is only ONE Chapter left in The A-Z!  Will I be able to get it out before Christmas? 

Absolutely not because one of the key ingredients will be a Christmas leftover.  And yes, I will be slapping people’s hands away from the plate if there is even the remotest chance of there not being enough leftovers to make it!

Will there be another post of any sort before the big day?

Almost definitely! 

See you in a couple of days!  

Signature 1 Vintage Valentine Quick as Wink2
  Oh and for the bravest o the brave?   Here are those veal kidneys:

History Happy Hour – April 15, 1912 – Punch Romaine

“Everyone knows what rockets at sea mean,” said the portly Boston Harbor pilot.

“They mean distress…It means, please come to me because I am  in trouble.  Simple as that.”

“But you see, that’s just my problem. If it is that simple, I’m trying to understand why the ship that The Titanic saw did not come….Is there any reason why the captain would not go to the aid of the distressed ship?”

“No, if he saw them, he must go.  It’s the oldest tradition of the sea.”

The Californian was the closest ship to The Titanic on the night it sank, possibly only 8 miles away.  It was close enough for crew members to see the lights on the sinking ship and the eight distress rockets sent up by The Titanic.  They alerted the Captain.  And, yet, they did not go to help.

This is the story of The Midnight Watch.

Punch Romaine2

The Midnight Watch is a super read. I loved it and I’m sure it is going to rank high in my books of the year. Even though, it is also soooooo frustrating.  Right from the start you know that The Californian did not go to help The Titanic.  And of course, you want to know why.  And at times you want to reach into the book and shake one of the people and yell “Why?  Why didn’t you do something?” WHY?”   Or, as one of the reporters in the book says to Captain Lord of The Californian

“If you’re the only one who can speak, then you must speak more!”

First Class Food on the Titanic
Chocolate Eclairs were served to the First Class Passengers on The Titanic.

The writing is beautiful.  From tales of heroism and gallantry to cowardice and inaction, The Midnight Watch covers the best and worst of human behaviour both in the face of, and following momentous events:

“Because by now we knew the numbers.  Fifty-eight first-class men has found their way into the lifeboats but fifty-three third-class children had not.  It was an almost perfect correlation.  For almost every rich man who lived a poor child had died”

American IceCream
American Ice Cream was on the menu for Second Class Passengers on The Titanic. Passengers in First Class were served French Ice Cream

“What Franklin (Head of The White Star Line) thought of the Captain I couldn’t know, but I did know that if he, Franklin, had been accused of abandoning so many people, the weight of shame would have broken him.  And yet, Lord’s head was upright, he seemed to bear no weight at all”

So, so good.  The Midnight Watch not only brought the story of The Californian but the entire period  to life.  This is the kind of historical fiction that I love; writing that truly transports you to another time and place.  Oh and, if you wiki Captain Lord, he looks EXACTLY how I imagined he would!  

When I read I  see the words as a movie in my head and I think that this would make a fabulous film.  The journalist searching for justice, the proud, flinty Captain; the second officer torn between loyalty and a desire to tell the truth.  It would be amazing. 

Titanic Third Class Food
Third Class passengers on The Titanic were fed hearty, no frills fare. Fresh bread and butter, cold meat, cheese and pickles were part of their menu.

I was initially disappointed with the “answer”  posited by David Dunn as to why Lord and The Californian did not go to the aid of The Titanic.  Although perfectly plausible, It felt to me like an anti-climax; such a little reason for such an appalling consequence.  But then I realised – pretty much any answer would have been disappointing.  Because the only acceptable answer to the question of “Why didn’t you save the 1500 people who died that night?”  would have been “Because we were too busy saving 1501 people elsewhere”.  

Nonetheless a totally brilliant read.

Punch Romaine3Punch Romaine was served To First Class passengers on The Titanic as a palate cleanser between the first and second courses on the fateful night of April 14th.  It is a white wine, rum and champagne cocktail served over…wait for it…. a mound of crushed ice.  Which is surely worth it’s own line in Alanis Morisette’s Ironic.  Don’tcha think?  

On a total tangent, Romaine was one of the names my parents had picked out for me before I was born.  Can you imagine a more foodie name than Romaine Fryer?  Then again, Taryn was bad enough growing up, can you imagine going through life with the same name as a lettuce?

You know what else is a lettuce? 

Iceberg. 

Which brings us back to…..doh, oh, oh, oh….or Punch Romaine. 

Punch Romaine

Punch Romaine
Yields 1
A white wine, rum and champagne cocktail that was served to First Class Passengers on the Titanic on the night it sank.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 egg white
  2. 1 oz. white rum
  3. 1 oz. white wine
  4. 1⁄2 oz. simple syrup
  5. 1⁄2 oz. lemon juice
  6. 1 oz. fresh orange juice
  7. 2 oz. Champagne or sparkling wine
  8. Twist of orange peel, for garnish
Instructions
  1. In an ice-filled cocktail shaker, combine egg white, rum, wine, simple syrup, lemon and orange juice.
  2. Shake vigorously until well mixed and frothy.
  3. Mound crushed ice in a large coupe glass, and pour drink around it.
  4. Top with champagne, and garnish with orange peel.
  5. Enjoy
Adapted from http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Punch-Romaine-Cocktail
Retro Food For Modern Times http://www.retrofoodformoderntimes.com/
Have a wonderful week!

Signature 1 Vintage Valentine Quick as Wink2;
 

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