Moroccan Moules Frites

September  6, 2015
3 Ratings
Photo by Brooke Bass | Chocolate + Marrow
  • Serves 2
Author Notes

Traditional Moules Frites get a playful twist with Moroccan spices, bold harissa, and fresh mint. I made this recipe with sherry, but Columbia Winery's Chardonnay works just as well with the warm spices of cinnamon, ginger, and coriander featured in the mussels. Note: While I provide a recipe for homemade frites, if you prefer to avoid the fryer, you can also serve these mussels with a crispy baguette. —Brooke Bass | Chocolate + Marrow

What You'll Need
  • For the frites:
  • 3 medium Russet potatoes (about 2 pounds), peeled and cut into long 1/2 inch strips (or smaller, depending on preferences)
  • 50 ounces canola or other neutral-tasting oil
  • salt to taste
  • For the mussels:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 shallots
  • 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground paprkia
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup dry sherry or Chardonnay
  • 1 1/2 cups seafood stock
  • 2 teaspoons harissa, plus more for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 pound live mussels, scrubbed and debearded
  • Fresh mint, for garnish
  1. For the frites:
  2. Rinse the potato strips in a bowl filled with cold water, changing the water several times. Lay them out on paper towels and pat dry, doing your best to get as much moisture out of them as possible.
  3. Fill a fryer or a Dutch oven with canola oil, at least 2 to 3 inches high. Heat over medium heat until oil reaches 300 to 325° F. Add 1 to 2 heaping handfuls of the potatoes and cook until you notice them just beginning to turn lightly golden on the edges and the texture starts to look slightly more puffy, about 5 to 7 minutes. It’s important to make sure the oil temperature is right—too low and the fries will absorb too much oil; too high and they’ll cook unevenly. Also, the potatoes will bubble and pop roughly in the hot oil, so be careful while handling. Work in batches while you fry so that the potatoes aren’t overcrowded. If you add too many at a time, the temperature of the oil will drop too quickly and your frites will turn out too oily. After each batch is finished, remove the potatoes with a slotted spoon and set aside on paper towels to drain.
  4. Preheat oven to 200° F.
  5. Once you’re ready for the second fry, increase the heat to medium-high until it reaches approximately 350 to 375° F. Add the first-fried potatoes back into the now very hot oil, one to two handfuls at a time, and fry until golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes. (Again, work in batches here and be sure not to overcrowd the pan.) Remove with a slotted spoon and rest either on paper towels or a wire rack to drain. Sprinkle with salt to taste.
  6. If you’re too engrossed in cooking the frites to worry about the mussels, spread the finished frites out onto a wire wrack and place in the preheated oven for up to 30 minutes while you prepare the mussels.
  1. For the mussels:
  2. In a large pot or saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook until they begin to turn translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and continue cooking until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the saffron threads, cinnamon, cumin, coriander, ginger, paprika, and salt, then increase the heat to medium-high and cook for about 30 seconds.
  3. Add the sherry to the pan and continue to cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Once nearly all of the sherry liquid has cooked down, add the seafood stock, harissa, butter, and stir. Reduce the heat to medium, add the mussels, and cover he pot or pan with a tight fitting lid. Continue simmering the liquid until all of the mussels have opened, about 4 to 5 minutes.
  4. Spoon the mussels and broth into bowls, discarding any unopened mussels. Garnish with mint and additional harissa, if desired, and serve with a crusty baguette or fresh frites.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Rachel Barrocas
    Rachel Barrocas
  • Mary Devinat
    Mary Devinat
  • Jared Kent
    Jared Kent
  • Scribbles
  • Brooke Bass | Chocolate + Marrow
    Brooke Bass | Chocolate + Marrow

13 Reviews

Rachel B. November 15, 2015
WOW! Excellent flavors. I like spicy food so may add more harissa next time.I will definitely make again. The fries were delicious, but I found myself wishing I had a crusty baguette to go with the broth- next time I'll have both =)
Brooke B. November 16, 2015
I'm so glad you enjoyed it, Rachel! I am a lover of spice as well so I can completely understand the desire to swirl in an extra dollop of harissa ;) And frites + baguette? You are a woman after my own heart!
Mary D. November 13, 2015
In France, we eat a lot of Moule frite, we love it so much, I really want to try this new recipe. All these spices have to bring a new very good taste :)
Brooke B. November 16, 2015
I hope you get to try it, Mary! It's one of my favorite ways of eating moules + frites!
clemy November 7, 2015
i come from Belgium and eat mussels every week when they are in season
from May - August .All my friends love my mussels and chips
Ham October 4, 2015
This makes a fantastic pot of mussels. I scaled up the recipe for a large dinner party and it still turned out great. Though I served it with bread this time, and it was delicious, I imagine that this rich, spicy broth is better suited to be paired with fries. I will have to (happily) make this again following the full recipe. Thank you, Brooke!
Brooke B. October 4, 2015
So glad you enjoyed it as much as we did! Thanks for the feedback!! :)
Jared K. October 1, 2015
Enjoyed this dish, though it didn't quite have the flavour I was looking for. Will make again though and try again. Made a fantastic chowder the next day with the leftovers by beefing up the broth. If nothing else this dish turned me on to Harissa and I now have a new favourite hot condiment. Yum!!
Brooke B. October 2, 2015
Thanks for the feedback, Jared! Was there something in particular about the flavor that you didn't love? I found in the development of this dish that if the sherry is not cooked down enough (as in almost all of the liquid has evaporated), the flavors don't sing quite as well--it ends up being just too bitter. So keep an eye out for that next time you make it, for sure.

PS: very cool to hear you repurposed the broth into a chowder!
eternalgradstudent September 26, 2015
This was a wonderful find! We skipped the frites, and just had crusty rolls fresh from the bakery. This will be added to our regular rotation of Saturday mussels. (Autumn in Benelux is the best!!)
Brooke B. September 28, 2015
That's great to hear! Thanks so much for the feedback!! :)
Scribbles September 18, 2015
I love your story behind the recipe. I, too, have an affinity for moules frites. Similar to your grandmother I had moules for the first time in Belgium. We were on our way to the airport, flying home from our 5th anniversary vacation celebration, and stopped at a small place where they were serving gigantic pots of moules frites. It's a favorite. Thanks for the memory and a great sounding recipe.
Brooke B. September 28, 2015
That is so wonderful to hear, Scribbles! My grandmother would get a kick out of knowing there are others who also fell in love with mussels in Belgium. Hope you get to try the recipe (or at least get back to Belgium!) sometime soon :)