Moules à la Marinière is perhaps Julia Child’s best known recipes. But, when you flip through her famous book – Mastering the Art of French Cooking, you come across another masterpiece – Moules à la Provencal (Gratineed Mussels) that deserves as much acknowledgement as any other recipe by Julia Child.
The very first step when making this recipe is to split open mussels. You can definitely shuck them raw, but majority of people prefer to steam them gently. Save that broth for your next seafood dish. It will add a unique saline flavor to it.
- Softened Butter: 6 ounces or one-and-a-half sticks
- Green Onions or Shallots: 3 tablespoons (makes sure that they are finely minced)
- Large Mussels: 48 (scrubbed and soaked)
- Mashed Garlic: 1 to 3 cloves, depending entirely on your taste or love for garlic
- Breadcrumbs: 1/2 cup
- Parsley: 1/4 cup (minced)
- Salt and Pepper: to taste
Take the 48 mussels and crack them open one by one. You can either steam the mussels open or use a knife for opening raw ones. If you prefer steaming mussels, you will need a pot filled with water. Heat the water on medium heat until it starts simmering. Put the mussels into simmering water and let them cook for 3 to five minutes. Don’t forget to stir occasionally to make sure the mussels are steamed properly and evenly.
Discard the bare shell halves when all the mussels are open. Arrange the mussels with half shells in a shallow serving or baking dish. You can use fireproof dishes as well. Take a mixing bowl and put butter into it. Beat it until it is creamy and light. Add the rest of the ingredients into the butter and beat them well. Taste the mixture for seasoning. Once you are satisfied with its taste, spread it over each mussel.
Run the mussels under extremely hot boiler about 2 to 3 minute prior to serving. When the breadcrumbs turn brown and butter starts bubbling, your mussels are ready. Serve the dish immediately!
It will make about 4 to 6 servings.
Important Note: You need to discard any mussel that is not properly closed. Get rid of the mussels that are either heavier or lighter in weight than others. Scrub them thoroughly under running water using a rough brush until they are free of grit. Use a knife for taking the tuft of hair off that sometime protrudes through the closed shell-halves. Put the mussels in fresh water and let them soak for an hour. This will decrease their saltiness and take out their sand and grit. Get the mussels out of water, wash and drain them once again. You are good to go!
If you want to prepare mussels ahead of time, you can do it, but cover the opened mussels with waxed paper before refrigerating.