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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Burnt_offering

almost 4 years ago Burnt Offerings

I didn't get around to making this it till Tuesday night because of Super Bowl party hosting and work issues...

This was great! I happened to have a jar of preserved lemons on hand that I had gotten at a Middle Eastern market for another dish, so that really helped. My preserved lemons come with some sort of herb in them that isn't identified on the jar, and I don't read Arabic, but it gives the preserved lemons just a hint of a floral note that is really nice. I believe 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 that compliments the brininess of the mussels.

I didn't have cippolini onions, so I used one sweet onion instead of the two called for in the recipe - works fine, and the strings of onions were nice to have. I also used a Pinot Grigio instead of a Sauvignon Blanc. Because I had some, and because it compliments the lemony flavor, I also added a 1/4 tsp of Sumac to the gremolata and that really brightened it up - especially with the mint, and made the dish a little more Middle Eastern. Lastly, I used half and half and sour cream instead of heavy cream and creme fraiche because that's what I had on hand, so I allowed it to reduce a little more to make sure it coated the pasta and mussels.

This dish comes together in a flash. Hardlikearmor 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.

Lots of nice bright flavors mellowed by the sweetness of the onions and cream sauce, while still having a nice tartness to it and a little heat. Wine for this dish should definitely be bright and citrusy. Any good, crisp, dry white would do, but a Viognier is the way to go here for sure. Will definitely make again.

Gator_cake

almost 4 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Thanks for the great review! The sumac is a brilliant addition. Glad you enjoyed.

Burnt_offering

almost 4 years ago Burnt Offerings

I volunteered to test drive this recipe. I have a jar of preserved lemons just waiting to get used! Will make it Monday night after the Super Bowl party on Sunday.

Bike2

almost 4 years ago Sagegreen

This really is stunning!

Gator_cake

almost 4 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Thanks, sagegreen! It's no where near as pretty as your black and white and green all over, though.

Newliztoqueicon-2

almost 4 years ago Lizthechef

This is the recipe for mussels with pasta that I've been looking for - thumbs up!

Gator_cake

almost 4 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Wow, thanks Liz!

Img_1958

almost 4 years ago gingerroot

This looks and sounds amazing, hardlikearmour! I am saving this and hope to try this soon.

Gator_cake

almost 4 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Thanks, gingerroot! If you try it, let me know how you like it.

_dsc0674

almost 4 years ago Constrained Cook

Looks delicious! I would try the mussels one night on their own.

Gator_cake

almost 4 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Thanks. Just make sure you have something to sop up the sauce!

186003_1004761561_1198459_n

almost 4 years ago dymnyno

This sounds delicious!!! Nice photo, too.

Gator_cake

almost 4 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Thank you! My husband and I ate an entire batch last night.