Moules Sans Frites

By • January 25, 2011 13 Comments

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Author Notes: This is my take on a Moules-Frites recipe from the Laurelhurst Market, an excellent restaurant and butcher shop in Portland, OR. They call them Mussels Frites, and have several variations. My favorite is the one with crème fraiche, cippolini onions, and preserved lemons. I'm not likely to make fries at home - way too much work and oil involved for me! Throwing the mussels and sauce over pasta seemed like an easy solution. I like to spear a mussel with my fork, and twirl some onion and linguini around it. Make sure to serve some nice crusty bread with this, as you will want to soak up every last drop of the tangy sauce. - hardlikearmourhardlikearmour

Food52 Review: This was great! You could make this dish just as easily with some good lemon zest and juice, but the preserved lemons give it a more mellow, briny flavor. I didn't have cippolini onions, so I used one sweet onion -- works fine, and the strings of onions were nice to have. Hardlikearmour is absolutely right -- cook the mussels while the water is coming to a boil, and cook the pasta while the sauce is reducing, and bingo: you have dinner on the table in less than 1/2 an hour. We ate it with a simple green salad with a lemon dijon vinaigrette with a little chopped preserved lemon thrown in, and some nice baked pita bread with homemade z'atar seasoning. I will definitely make this again.
Burnt Offerings

Serves 2-3 depending on level of gluttony

Preserved Lemon Gremolata

  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped flat leaf parsley leaves
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 1/4 preserved lemon, rinsed, pulp removed and reserved, peel coarsely chopped
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
  1. Combine all ingredients on cutting board, and finely chop, making sure everything is well mixed. Transfer to small bowl and set aside.

Mussels & Pasta

  • 8 ounces dried linguine
  • salt
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 & 1/2 cups Sauvingnon blanc
  • 2 medium cippolini onions, halved then thinly sliced
  • 3 medium cloves garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1.5 to 2 pounds fresh mussels, debearded and scrubbed
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons crème fraiche or sour cream
  • 1/2 to 1 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 1/4 preserved lemon, rinsed and diced
  • reserved lemon pulp from gremolata, diced
  • ground white pepper
  1. Boil pasta to al dente as directed on package, making sure to salt pasta water well. Drain pasta and return to pot with olive oil, tossing to coat. Keep covered to preserve warmth.
  2. Proceed with remaining steps while pasta water is heating. In a large pot bring wine, onions, garlic, bay leaf and red pepper flakes to a simmer over medium heat, then simmer for 4 to 5 minutes to allow onions to soften and flavors to meld. Turn heat up to medium-high and add mussels to pot. Cover and steam until mussels are opened, stirring once or twice. This should take 4 to 8 minutes depending on size of mussels. Once mussels have opened remove them to a bowl and set them aside. Discard any that have not opened.
  3. Reduce the cooking liquid to about 1/2 to 2/3 cup. Add cream, crème fraiche, and dijon mustard. Cook until mixture has thickened a bit, 2 to 4 minutes. Stir in preserved lemon, pulp, and white pepper to taste. Add salt if needed. If pasta is not done turn down to low heat until pasta is ready. Return mussels to pan briefly to reheat.
  4. Divide noodles into serving bowls. Pile mussels over noodles. Pour sauce over noodles, making sure to divide onions evenly. Sprinkle each serving with a generous helping of gremolata. Serve immediately.

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