Saturday, December 1, 2012

Moules and Frites

I think I can honestly say, if I were fortunate enough to select my "last meal," I would choose Moules and Frites.  I ate them in the small town of Vence in Provence just last month.  I ate them another time on our 3 week trip.

Moules and Frites in a restaurant in Vence, Provence

I have eaten them  twice since coming home; the last time being tonight.  I absolutely love them.

We have tried several recipes in the past, but we sort of made up our own which works great for us.  This is what we do.

Moules and Frites

Oven-Bakes Fries

4-5 potatoes, Yukon gold or russets, cut into 1/2 inch sticks with skin on
3 tablespoons olive oil
sea salt
freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Cut potatoes into 1/2" sticks and soak in cold water for 5-10 minutes.

Remove from water and place in large pot with cold water, cover and put over high heat until water begins to simmer.  Cook potatoes for 2-3 minutes or until almost cooked through.  Do not overcook.  Drain and place on paper towels to drain.

Put olive oil on a baking sheet, add potatoes and toss with hands until the potatoes are covered.  Can add more olive oil if necessary.  Spread out evenly on baking sheet and salt and pepper.

Bake 25-30 minutes or until fries are crispy and light brown.  Remove from oven, salt and pepper more to taste.  Serve immediately.


2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 large shallots, finely minced
2 tablespoons finely minced garlic
several shakes of red pepper flakes
3/4 cups white wine
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 pounds cleaned and de-bearded mussels
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped.
salt and pepper

Heat butter and oil in large cooking pot (Dutch oven) over medium high heat.  Add minced shallots, garlic, and pepper flakes, and stir frequently until soft.

Add white wine and bring to boil.  Add cream and add mussels to pot and cover with lid.  Cook for about 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until mussels open.  Discard any mussels that do not open.  Stir in chopped parsley and season to taste.  Serve immediately.  Dip crusty bread into the broth or simply eat it with a spoon.  So delicious.

In November 2001, The Trout and I had our first trip to Paris.  We found a cozy restaurant one evening and sat at a table  for dinner.  As often happens in a foreign country, the best entertainment comes from the table beside you.  More than once we have entered into conversations with fellow diners.  But, this evening, no conversation was exchanged, but we learned the correct way to eat mussels.

A middle-aged gentlemen in a suit, with briefcase, sat down at a table for one.  Immediately we are thinking...he has just finished his day in the office and wants a nice bite to eat before going home.  We watch as he orders moules and frites.  Very carefully, he took his fork to grasp the first mussel out of the shell.  He then used that shell to pinch the rest of the mussels out of their shells.  So clever and so easy.  We have been eating our mussels like that ever since.  See photo below.

On the right I am holding the mussel and the left sided mussel is pinching it out of the shell.  I know I am really going over and beyond what many of you may want to know, but I just wanted to share what we learned one cold evening in a small bistro in Paris, many years ago.  My favorite meal......


  1. That is a great way to get the mussels out. I'm going to do it next time :) We love mussels and prepare them similarly, but I think I could do without the potatoes... must be a French thing!

  2. Karen, I never eat French fried, but with the just seems like a good fit.

  3. You know you have traveled and ate well in life when you truly know what your desire would be for a last meal...Awesome.

    I hope you are enjoying this meal with a good glass of wine.


  4. I ate Moules et Frites three times when I was in Belgium in September - once in the Grand Place in Bruges and twice in small restaurants. Lovely memories!

  5. I adore Moules Frîtes especially the big fat and juicy ones you get in Belgium and Holland. Yum!

  6. I've heard of that way to get the mussels out and I'm so glad to know the French actually do it. They don't eat with their hands very often I've heard. We love mussels, but I don't think we've ever served them with frites. (Love that you oven fried them.) We serve them with bread for dunking as you suggested. I'm probably showing my ignorance, but when do you eat the frites?

  7. Good choice for a last meal!! I've never had moules with frits but am thinking it would be a good thing!!


  8. Sam, I know what you mean about not eating with hands, though, Europeans always eat with both hands on the table, not one tucked on the lap like we do!! ha ha We eat the frites along side the mussels...that is if I can stop long enough to lay my pincher shell down. They also are great dipped into the broth. Just seems like a nice combination which Europeans have eaten together forever.

  9. Tha moules recipe sounds very good and I love the how-to-east-them tip.

  10. That is the most clever idea for eating mussels I've ever seen! I like your choice for a last meal, Susan... I'm afraid chosing only one or two dishes would be really hard for me. ;) blessings ~ tanna

  11. My first meal and first time I had Moules and Frites was in Antibes Provence. Of course I fell in love with them. So happy you shared this recipe because they are the best way to enjoy them. I think we will be having a treat very soon.

  12. I love mussels; I'm sure it would be a wonderful last meal.