Moules Frites (Mussels and Fries)

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This dish is two things: Belgian and delicious. If you go to nice bars (or shitty ones near the ocean) you might have tried this masterpiece. I haven’t cooked a ton of shellfish in my life but I’m great so here goes:

For the Fries:

Russet Potatoes

Oil (Canola, Vegetable, Peanut)

Salt, Pepper, Parsley, and fresh Parm

 

For the Mussels:

1/2 bottle of wine

1/2 stick of butter (approx)

A few minced Shallots

A few minced cloves of Garlic

some finely chopped Parsley

Salt and Pepper

1 bag of  Mussels

How to (Fries)

-Cut the fries a little bigger than Wendy’s Fries and put them in cool water to keep them from turning brown AND to take a little starch out

-Heat the oil from 250-275 degrees

-Drop fries in and make sure to maintain temperature around 250 (I find a candy thermometer that clips onto the pot to be especially useful. And cheap)

-Take out when BARELY browning

–Put them in the fridge to keep–

-When mussels are about done, put them back into the oil BUT this time make the oil around 360 (DO NOT LET THE OIL DROP BELOW 350- IT WILL FUCK YOUR FRIES UP!!!!)

-Take out when they are light brown and toss with Salt, Pepper, Parsley and fresh Parm

How to (Mussels)

-It’s important that you soak your Mussels for a while to get the sand out- I have eaten sandy Mussels and it tastes like shit. You know the sand it out when you see sand on the bottom

-After they have been soaked for a while, check to see if they are alive- if they stay open when you hold them, they are dead as shit

-Put butter and Shallots, Garlic, Salt and Pepper in a pot on Medium and sweat

-When they are transluscent and about to turn brown, add the wine and put the heat on Medium-High

-When you see bubbles, add the Mussels and stir and COVER

-When the Mussel steam open, they are done.

-Take the Mussels out and let the broth bubble some more and reduce

-Pour Broth over Mussels and eat with the [sexy] Fries

This is what they look like when they get devoured

 

dangermike
I have ample time for rhymes.

13 Comments on "Moules Frites (Mussels and Fries)"

  1. Kilian says:

    Very important addition to the fries directions:

    The fries need to be dried thoroughly between soaking and being dropped in the oil, otherwise you will have a volcano of oil in your kitchen. Don’t rinse thought after soaking, you want some starch left on them for crispiness. Water+hot oil is bad news.

    Also, have you seen this technique from Mark Bittman. It’s quite simple, but the complete anathema of traditional fry recipes:

    1. Peel and cut russet potatoes to desired length and thickness. Dry thoroughly.
    2. Place in medium to deep frying pan or cast iron pot.
    3. Fill with neutral high-temperature cooking oil (I use canola) to cover the top of the potatoes.
    4. Turn heat on low to medium-low.
    5. Cook for approximately 45mins to 1hr until golden brown*
    6. Drain on paper towels or brown paper bags. Season to taste.

    *Quoted time is for medium-thickness (1/2″ to 3/4″ steak fries)

    Here’s a link to the article: http://dinersjournal.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/03/19/an-easy-way-to-make-french-fries/

    I’m going to try it this weekend – prob with some mussels!

    • dangermike says:

      I refuse to believe that those fries aren’t water-logged with grease. When your fries aren’t bubbling, they are sucking in oil because they are porous and dry (equilibrium). The only reason that normal fries come out good is the extreme high heat of a deep-fat fryer. And as for the draining and blotting of the potatoes- my bad. I keep all my fries on cookie-cooling-racks. Always have. Thanks.

      • Kilian says:

        Yeah, I’m sure the guy who has published ten cookbooks, two with Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, one which won a James Beard award, and wrote for the New York Times food section for years doesn’t know how to cook french fries. Also, his article mentions that both Joël Robuchon and Jeffrey Steingarten both wrote about the same technique. Two more guys who don’t know anything about cooking.

        Interestingly, Cook’s Illustrated also did a piece on this technique and showed that it absorbed about 1/3rd less oil than hot fried fries.

        Because the oil starts cold, less water is lost by the potatoes. Lost water is replaced by oil. So by the time the potato starts to get hot in the center, the outside has a crust. Less water lost = less oil absorbed.

      • Kilian says:

        (Equilibrium)

      • dangermike says:

        Killian- I can tell by now that you’re a research man! I’m sure Mr Steingarten (who looks very much like a fat Mr Limpet) knows his way around food and that is fine. However, I can cook some fuckin fries and I have the extended pant size to prove it. Also- I have worked in a couple pretty nice restaurants that cook it exactly the way I do. I’m not recreating the wheel here or making culinary adventures for tbse readers. Mere excursions is all I aim for. Also, have you heard that “a picture is worth a thousand words?” Well if you care to take a gander at the photos I provided, you can clearly see that my fries are golden brown, glistening, and deliciously seasoned to perfection. I appreciate your opinions and I would love to try your grease fries but for now I’m sticking with ole reliable.

      • Kilian says:

        Haha, bored at work = research. Fair enough on the method. I just think the double dip fry method might have been developed to keep up with the fast restaurant pace, whereas the cold oil method might be easier for the home cook. Both may provide successful results. Sort of like cooking a steak on a grill or in a pan or sous vide all can produce delicious steaks. I haven’t even tried the cold oil method yet, so maybe I shouldn’t put myself out there as an advocate.

        Tell you what – I’ll make some this weekend, document it, and email some pics to tuna.

        Also – in my first post, for the draining – I just didn’t want anyone to take the potatoes directly from the water bath to the hot oil. Didn’t mean for it to be taken the wrong way.

      • Kilian says:

        Lastly – I enjoy these food posts. Our tastes are pretty similar. Next dialogue will be less confrontational. I blame tuna for stirring the pot.

    • Kilian says:

      Decided to make a batch last night. Despite the long slow cooking time, I overcooked them just a little, but they were still nice. Not greasy at all (seriously) and very crispy. The one downside I can see other than the cooking time, is that you are limited in the number of fries you can make in a single batch. You could put maybe 1.5 russets in a pan in the single layer the recipes call for.

      Took me about 30 minutes from start to finish, so I may have had the heat a little high for this method.

  2. tuna says:

    chef mike– slacking in the instructions department

  3. dangermike says:

    Its all good- i know you are just poking, not a huge deal at all. I was only minorly annoyed and most was at tuna. He is such a lady sometimes.

  4. frizanks says:

    I like this fry debate.

    I make them in a way adopted from Anythony Bourdain (probably among others) Les Halles fries. Cut the potatoes and put them immediately into ice water. To my understanding this prevents them from oxidizing, removes some starch (like you said), and begins splaying some potato fragments out creating a crispy texture later on. After icing, put them in a fryer at 280 F until nearing brown. Take them out and let them drain on paper towel for 15 minutes. Just before serving, put them in the fryer at 375 F or as hot as humanly possible for 1-2 minutes. Finally, add salt directly after they come out as salt is soluble in oil and it will coat them in a golden way.

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