Mussels ~ Moules à la Marinière

Mussels Julia I

“Always remember: If you’re alone in the kitchen and you drop the lamb, you can always just pick it up. Who’s going to know?”
Julia Child

 On a recent trip to Williamsburg, Virginia I enjoyed what I was reminded of by my lovely daughter “mussels twice in one day?”…sure why not?  After all I had a “pub” version and a French inspired restaurant version, The Blue Talon.  My dinners out are often an appetizer and a great salad and Blue Talon did not disappoint with the fantastic grilled asparagus salad and a lovely hot-pot of mussels (I want that pot that they were served in) perfect dinner.  Thank you chef and I want your recipe, but in the mean time…

 Wednesday and schedule changes…just when you get in the groove along comes another schedule change and that means dinner for one which also means something that Michael wouldn’t enjoy eating and I can feast on things like mussels.

I don’t get fresh mussels around here too often and when I do, I get them the day the store ad comes out as they have a tendency to get rid of them if they don’t sell…I have plenty of mussels so I’m going to save some for lunch maybe a capellini

 Two 2 pound bags sounds like a lot, but consider the fact that they come in a shell and that is the weight of the package.  Someday I’ll weigh the little gems out of their shells.

I love Julia Child’s recipe so that is what I am going for tonight along with those lovely little morsels with anchovy-provolone crostini and a good salad with one of my favorite simple vinaigrettes.

 Moules à la Marinière
Adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking


1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 quarts (about 3 pounds) Maine mussels, scrubbed and debearded
1 cup dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio
1/4 cup minced scallions, shallots, or leeks
4 parsley sprigs, plus 1/4 cup roughly chopped parsley for garnish
1/2 of a bay leaf
1/2 tsp roughly chopped fresh lemon thyme
freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 baguette, in 1/2-inch slices, drizzled with olive oil and toasted


  1. Whisk together the flour and 4 cups of water in a large mixing bowl. Add the cleaned mussels to the flour-water mixture, topping off with water as needed to cover the mussels. Allow the mussels at least an hour of soaking time in order to ensure that they disgorge any sand and grit.
  2. Bring the wine, minced onion, parsley sprigs, bay leaf, thyme, pepper, and butter to a simmer in a large (6+ quarts) stockpot over high heat.
  3. Meanwhile, drain the mussels from their flour and water liquid, and rinse once more.
  4. Add the clean mussels to the stockpot, top with the lid and shake vigorously from time to time, in order to ensure that the mussels cook evenly. Continue with this for 5 minutes, or until the majority of the mussel shells have opened (this is your indication that they’re cooked through).
  5. Serve the mussels in large shallow bowls, and ladle over some of their briny broth on top. Garnish with minced parsley, and serve with crusty bread…

I made Giada’s anchovy toasted crostini with provolone to serve alongside the big bowl of mussels.

Serves 3-4.

Note: Discard any mussels whose shells are cracked or open when raw  discard ones that are not open after steaming.