We arrived in Marseille on a dusty summer afternoon, tired and moody. It was just at that witching hour when everything we wanted to see was closed and the spirited port took its afternoon siesta. Good thing some folks in Marseille march to a different beat, because at the end of a noiseless alley was one small restaurant determined to keep its door ajar. Blue checkered tablecloths gaily waved to us from the sidewalk, clinking glasses invited us in, and the aromatic fragrance of mussels steamed in herb broth beckoned our empty stomachs. We have taken the delicious dish one step further to evoke that tangy, spicy, pastis filled afternoon we remember so well.
BT’s MOULES FRITES RECIPE
Serves 4 Total Time: 30 Minutes [Prep=20 minutes, cook=10 minutes]
WHAT YOU NEED
4 pounds mussels, cleaned and de-bearded
6 tablespoons minced shallot
6 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 sprigs fresh thyme
3 cups dry white wine*
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon saffron
2 tablespoons fennel fronds, chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
WHAT TO DO
1. In a large pot melt the butter over medium heat. Add the shallots, garlic, and salt to the pot. Stir frequently for 3-5 minutes until shallots and garlic are soft and translucent.
2. Add the white wine, parsley, and saffron to the mixture. Bring the sauce to a boil. Add the cleaned mussels, stirring thoroughly once before covering.
3. Let the mussels steam in the broth for 5 minutes or until almost all muscles have opened their shells. Give mussels one last stir and pick out unopened ones to discard. Add in the fennel fronds, black pepper, and fresh thyme to the mussels before serving.
4. Serve alongside thick-cut fries. If you wish to make your own, our recipe for homemade fries follows below.
BT’s HOMEMADE FRIES RECIPE:
Serves 4 Total Time: 60 Minutes [Prep=15 minutes, cook=45 minutes]
WHAT YOU NEED
2 large Yukon or golden potatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons garlic
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 tablespoons oregano
2 teaspoons minced parsley
Salt to taste
WHAT TO DO
For HOMEMADE FRIES:
1. Rinse the potatoes then cut them into 1/4 inch thick slices. Cut these slices further into 1/4 inch thick sticks.
2. Place the pieces in a medium-sized bowl and add in olive oil, garlic, oregano, black pepper, parsley, and salt.
3. Toss all ingredients in bowl until the fries are nicely coated.
4. Place parchment paper or aluminum foil on a baking sheet and spread the fries on top of the parchment or foil. Bake for 25 minutes then turn them over onto the other side.
5. Continue baking for another 15 minutes or until the fries are crisp and golden-brown. Serve with the mussels and a chilled white wine.
*BT Tip: For a more piquant moules frites, substitute a rich tomato broth for the white wine. You can make your own broth by stewing canned tomatoes.