This week we have had the pleasure of the company of June and Ken Clarke, two very wonderful people who I’ve known all my life but don’t get to see very often.
It turns out that June is a bit of a master at cooking moules, my all time favourite meal and one I have every time I spot it on the menu, but have never cooked myself. Anyway, we decided to join forces and cook moules et frites for 8 people! It’s far easier than I realised!
Here’s what we did:
June and Ken rinsed and prepared the mussels (which had been kept on ice to keep them fresh) by scraping off the ‘beards’ which is what they use to attach themselves to the rocks / rope / wherever they were residing. The trick at this stage is to discard any mussels that are already open.
Then we added some finely chopped shallots and garlic to a large pan with some olive oil. I’m being vague about the quantities because we were cooking for 8 people! But roughly, I’d say you need 2 shallots and 1 clove of garlic for 2 people (June may correct me when she reads this, if she does I’ll update it!)
Once the shallots and garlic have softened, add the moules to the pan, put on a high heat and add some white wine (about half a glass for 2 people). Put a lid on the pan as the mussels need to steam. leave the pan on the heat for around 4 minutes, giving them a good shake about half way through. They don’t take long at all, but the best way to tell, is when most of the shells are open! Discard any that aren’t open. Once they’re cooked, you can stir some chopped parsley through them, but we didn’t (because I forgot and left it in the fridge…)
While all this was going on, Rich and I cooked some chips from scratch – not the healthiest food I know, but it was a treat! We followed a recipe that called for the chipped potatoes to be par-boiled, then drained and dried, fried until the chips start to turn colour. Then you remove them from that pan, drain them and let them cool, then add them to the boiling oil again for another frying until they’re golden brown and cooked through. They were delightful!
Anyway I hope this helps, I am reliably informed that the best place to buy moules in England is Morrisons, they’re nice and fresh! (remember to keep them very cold until you cook them!!)