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When I was much younger I was lucky enough to have two trips to France every year. This was in the 70’s. My father had a job with a French company and part of his salary package was that his kids could visit him twice and year and the company paid for the fare. I was at university in Sydney and felt very lucky to go overseas in my university breaks. This is where I was first introduced to Moules Mariniere.

My parents lived in the South of France in a little town called Pau. We were often served Moules at their friends houses and other times we would eat them in caf├ęs. Moules and frites were very popular. This is Mussels with potato chips. You can still order this in France and all over Paris. A delicious meal served with a glass of wine or beer for a very reasonable price. When you eat mussels you use one side of the shell to scoop the mussel out of the other shell and make sure you mop up the sauce with a big crusty baguette. This is my version of the recipe. I add a touch of chilli, for that bite.

I was lucky enough to be given these mussels which came pre-packed and cleaned so there was no need to brush the outside or pull off the hairy beards.

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Recipe

Ingredients

About 1.5 kg mussels
2 tbsp olive oil
100 grams of unsalted butter
1/2 cup of cream
1 onion diced finely
2 cloves of garlic diced
2 shallots, finely sliced
100 ml dry white wine
1/2 cup of chopped parsley
1 teaspoon on dried chilli
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp chopped parsley for garnishing

Method

Heat olive oil and butter in a large pan on gentle heat. Add onions, garlic and shallots and cook, stirring for a few minutes. Add mussels, white wine, parsley, chilli, and season with pepper.

Cover with a lid and steam the mussels until they have all opened. It takes about 5 minutes.

Shake the pan a couple of times during the cooking.

Just before serving add cream and stir.

Lift mussels from the pan into a bowl. Ladel sauce all over the mussels, sprinkle with fresh parsley and serve with crusty bread.

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