This Easter Sunday, we visit Belgium* with mussels and fries, a Belgian staple. Many of the country’s famous fry shops serve some variation of the mussel-fry combination: some with tomato-based sauces, others with curry. This one, a classic mixture of butter, dry white wine, and aromatic leeks and onions. Served with a side of homemade mayonnaise, every one of us enjoyed this dish (though next time I will also serve a big salad alongside, as I was still hungry after dinner)!
It’s very important to keep your mussels cold at all times, as they are still alive when you buy them! Or at least, they should be. Mussels that have perished should be tossed immediately — they could make you sick if you consume them. When preparing the mussels, be sure they are debearded. I found this tutorial helpful. It also tell what to look for in finding the spoiled mussels.
Moules Frites (From Saveur, a cookbook and food blog that I have tremendous success with — never a bad recipe!)
For the Mayonnaise
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 cup canola oil
- 2 tsp white wine vinegar
- 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt, plus more to taste
- Freshly ground pepper, to taste
For the Mussels
- 2 lbs mussels, scrubbed and debearded
- 2/3 cup dry white wine
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, cubed
- 3 ribs celery, finely chopped
- 1 1/2 leeks, light green and white parts cut into 1/4-inch slices
- 1/2 large onion, finely chopped
- French Fries (I used Trader Joe’s and baked them in the oven)
- Kosher salt & pepper to taste
Make the mayonnaise. In a large bowl, whisk together mustard and egg yolk. Whisking constantly, slowly add oil, drop by drop at first until the mixture begins to emulsify, then add in a thin stream. Whisk in vinegar, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Make the mussels. Heat a high-sided 12″ skillet over high heat. Melt a tablespoon of butter and add celery, leeks, and onion, cooking until soft and fragrant. Add mussels, wine, the remainder of the butter, salt & pepper, and cover skillet. Cook, occasionally shaking skillet, until mussels have opened, about 5 minutes. Divide mussels, separating any that did not open and discarding those. Place the open mussels onto plates, and put fries into a rolled-up paper to keep them from becoming soggy (or just serve them in a separate dish). Serve with mayonnaise and enjoy right away!
Milo ate the most of all of our boys, with Emil in close second. Oliver tried it, but really just played with the shells more than anything. I think he’s actually coming to love Sunday Supper, as he seems very curious about what we’re going to have, and always tastes everything, even while complaining, ha ha!
Enjoy the rest of your holiday weekend!
*Our hearts go out to those in Belgium who have experienced the recent horrific terrorist attacks. We had set up this post a week before the tragedy, and now our minds and sympathies are with the people who have lost loved ones.