There are few places we want to be than back at work on the Tuesday after Labor Day, wearing our brave, back-in-the-saddle September faces. But if we did want to be somewhere else, Paris would be nice. Paris in the fall! Crisp-weathered and golden. Maybe sitting at one of those streetside bistros, in one of those little wickery chairs, eating mussels Dijonnaise. (And until we get our plane tickets—well, these mussels, ready in just 20 minutes, are an awfully good next-best-thing.)
3 quarts mussels (beards removed, cleaned and scrubbed)
Crusty bread to serve
1/4 cup dry white wine
We're assuming you already have a tablespoon of butter, a clove of garlic, salt, and freshly ground black pepper. If not, add those to your list, too!
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The Game Plan:
20 minutes before dinner, pour yourself a glass of the white wine (reserving a 1/4 cup of it for the mussels). Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat and soften the onions, shallots, and garlic in it; meanwhile, make sure your mussels are cleaned and ready to go.
Add the mussels to the pan, along with 1 teaspoon salt, freshly ground pepper to taste, and the bay leaf, thyme, white wine, and cream. Cover, bring to a boil, and cook, shaking occasionally, for at least 5 minutes, or until all the mussels have opened.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer the mussels to a serving bowl. Keep them warm while you remove the herbs from the pot and whisk the mustard into the sauce, cooking about a minute.
Just before sitting down, spoon the sauce over the mussels, sprinkle with parsley, and serve with crusty bread. And take another sip of your wine, too.
A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).