...family, friends, home and other tidbits of a blessed life

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Julia's Moules Marinière on the patio

Last week I took you to Tuscany, this week I had planned on taking you to Provence. However, life got in the way. So I thought I'd bring an older, semi-tablescape to the forefront. I hope you enjoy the short sojourn into one of our favorite Sunday afternoon activities.

We practically live on the patio in the spring, cool summer mornings and evenings, and in the fall. Sunday was no different. After cleaning up a bit, shopping a bit, it was time for eating a bit! I married a man who, bless his heart, grew up on chicken fried steak , mashed potatoes with paste gravy, green beans and iceberg lettuce. While there is nothing wrong with that, in the 35 38 years we've been married, I've taken his taste buds on a never ending journey.

When I was a young girl living in France, I was lucky enough to get to go with friends to the Atlantic coast where we picked Moules off the rocks early in the mornings while the tide was still out. I can remember wearing heavy, thick gloves because those rascals were stuck "real good" on those rocks. Then we would cook them on the beach, eat them and then drain down the liquid in which they were cooked. Yummy. So Sunday we had Moules for lunch. I am so thankful for United Market Street and their knowledgeable fish mongers who pay careful attention when selecting mussels. When you purchase them, they must be closed! Bring them home, place them in a bowl of either salted, cold water or water into which you've added some cornmeal. Both the cornmeal and the salt agitate the mussels to cleanse themselves. Remove any barbs and leave them in the water until you are ready for the cooking step. Then drain well before adding to the pot.

Mussels Steamed in White Wine
Moules Marinière

4 tbs butter
1 cup minced onions
1 large clove of garlic, pureed, optional
a large handful of chopped fresh parsley
4 quarts fine fresh mussels
2 cups dry white wine or dry white French Vermouth

Melt the butter in a kettle, stir in the onions and optional garlic, and cook slowly for several minutes until limp. Then add the parsley and the mussels, cover the kettle and shake once to mix all the ingredients. Pour in the vermouth or wine and shake once again. Turn heat to high, cover tightly, and let steam for 3 to 4 minutes (without shaking), just until the mussels have opened.

Dip the mussels out, shells and all, into the soup bowls. Tip the kettle and ladle the fragrant cooking liquor into each serving bowl. Serve with a fresh baguette, real butter, and a bottle of wine.

Merci milles fois, Julia Child. Bon Appetit!

Old tablecloth, Wedgewood white bowl, Bordallo Pinheiro salad plates, unknown wine glasses,
Vietri butter dish.
I'm linking up to two fabulous parties - Let's Dish on Wednesday evenings over at Cuisine Kathleen's, and then to the weekly Thursday party, Tablescape Thursday over at Susan's Between Naps on the Porch. 


RhondaBuss said...

We have the same dishes!! I just love those little leaf plates. I also LOVE mussels. I'll give your recipe a try.

Tricia said...

This dish sounds wonderful! Loved your "bless his heart" aside -- my husband also grew up with a limited menu and was stunned at how different fresh peaches and asparagus tasted from their canned versions!

Entertaining Women said...

Love the table. Love the back story. You can eat my share of mussels, and I'll dine on that gorgeous bread and wine. Thanks for inviting us for a peak. Cherry Kay

Alycia Nichols said...

Oh, how I wish I could refine my little ol' tastebuds, but I, too, was brought up on simple fare. I enjoy a few delicacies and intricate foods from time to time, but I always come back to pot roast, meatloaf, tuna casserole, macaroni & cheese, and mashed potatoes!!! I just can't help myself! I am so glad there are people out there who are much more adventurous, and I envy them. I am SO stuck in my ways!!! I'm like Cherry Kay...I'll gladly enjoy the wine & bread on your beautiful table, but I will let you eat my portion of the lovingly-prepared mussels! :-) Maybe someday, though....! :-)

kitty said...

Marlis, do you live in Texas? Market Street is my favorite grocery store!! I love your plates.

Barbara said...

I smiled when I saw your tablecloth because that is what I used this week too. I just loved hearing your story. Time in France as a little girl sounds wonderful. My husband is the one who expanded my taste buds. When we met I had never had a pizza or Mexican food. I love your cabbage plates.

PAT said...

I love this fabulous post, Marlis. The story is wonderful!

Mary said...

Marlis~ I'm craving mussels now which we love~ but my favorite part is the broth with plenty of bread to dunk and FRITES! What fun memories you have picking them off the rocks!

Susan (My Place to Yours) said...

I had to laugh at the description of your husband's growing-up food preferences; those are most definitely my own hubby's comfort foods, although he doesn't get them very often anymore! Unfortunately, though, I'm not as open-minded as you when it comes to food. I'll stick with Cherry Kay. Perhaps she'll share the bread and wine with me.

AshTreeCottage said...

I love mussels! I wish I could get my husband to try them. Like yours, he is a chicken fried steak kind of guy. Have a happy and safe Memorial Day!

Susan and Bentley

Anonymous said...

Ah mussels, how I love them. In just a week or so we will return to Maine where I can harvest them myself and return home and fix them for dinner. Nothing is better!

Scribbler said...

I really enjoyed this the first time this morning when it turned up in my email! I enjoyed it again tonight. I had to laugh about the chicken fried steak. It is an acquired taste, and I did acquire the taste during my 8 years in Texas. One dare not eat it too often!

I think I am with Cherry Kay -- I'll take some butter and bread and wine. I am not particularly keen n the mussels either. Than again, maybe I have never had them prepared correctly.

Elaine said...

Oh, what a scrumptious meal! I grew up eating clams, but only tried mussels a couple of years ago. I am so sorry it took me so long--I love them! Thanks for sharing your childhood memory AND the way to cook mussels!

Dianne said...

I adore mussels. Absolutely one of my favorite meals is a bowl of them with some crusty french bread and wine! I too have taken my husband on a culinary journey since we married, but lucky for me, I don't have to share my mussels with him so far. Dianne

A Cottage in the Clouds said...

Love the table and the story!

Aledia said...

I love your story and that first picture is just perfect! I'm not a big seafood person myself, just certain types of fish and my husband did get me to making (and liking) Crawfish Bisque.

I hope you have a really wonderful weekend!
Aledia @ Plum Perfect

Sarah said...

Marlis, my husband would love to dine with you! Me, I'm not so fond of mussels. Got sick on them once, so I don't venture there anymore.
Loved reading about your French experience.

Debbie@Mountain Breaths said...

I buy mussels at Wegman's since I can trust that they will be fresh. These sounds wonderful Marlis. Loved your story! I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Marigene said...

I love steamed mussels...almost as much as fried whole bellied clams, which is my favorite food in the whole world!

Sandra said...

Sounds delicious! Thanks for the recipe. Love those little leaf dishes. Thanks for sharing. Have a wonderful weekend!


One of my fav sea foods are mussels and your recipe sounds wonderful! I love those dishes and soup bowls, they're perfect for the great food. Loved your "blessed his heart". I love food like this, father used to cook sea food as he was from the coast of Ecuador, where you have such delicacies and you didn't need to be rich for your taste buds to savor this kinda sea food in those days, lol.. Have a great holiday weekend.

Sanghamitra Bhattacherjee(Mukherjee) said...

I love that table, everything is so gorgeous about this outdoor setting.
Thanks for sharing.
Hope to see you on my blog:)

xinex said...

This looks wonderful, Marlis...Christine

Maria said...

Marlis, you make your casual seem sophisticated! Love this! I am slowly trying to get my backyard in shape, so that we, too, can live in it during the warm months, which, here in Chicago, are far too few. This is an inspiration!

Judy Bigg said...

I must confess, I have never eaten mussels but my husband would like them. Your table is lovely.

Linda said...

What a lovely dish...Love the leaf plates. I love seafood...thanks for sharing a great recipe. Enjoy the memorial Day week-end. Linda

Chubby Chieque said...

Hello dear Marlis,

Such a cute story. Wow... I really didn't see such dish you have.

Moulles? that's a perfect food for me who is on diet §;-) I love them, just fry a bit in a ginger & white wine? Fantastic palatable dish.

Happy TS & a great w/end to come.


~Tablescapes By Diane~ said...

Hi lovely lady.
We also love mussels one of my favorites. What fun memories you have picking them off the rocks! Thanks so much for your sweet comments on my Tablescape. I hope you have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend.
XXOO Diane

Debbie said...

I confess to only having mussels once in my life, and I didn't do the cooking. They were delicious, though. I love your table and the story of you picking them from the sea as a child.

CJ Foss said...

Yummy. Sounds like I have a dinner plan. Thanks for stopping by my post. I know what you mean by living on the patio during the summer months. So beautiful on your patio. Have a great week. ~CJ

Kathleen said...

I have picked mussels off the rocks, debearded them too!
I love to go clamming and crabbing right down the street. But I don't eat them! Baked clams and clam chowder, but not on yhe half shell.
My sis who lives in Tx orders mussels everytime we go out when she comes home!
Thanks for sharing on Let's Dish! Enjoy your al fresco dining!


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