Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Whisk Wednesdays—Mouclade (Mussels with Wine and Cream Sauce)

Mouclade (Mussels with Wine and Cream Sauce)I love mussels and have enjoyed more than one all-you-can-eat mussel bar. They're easy to prepare and only need a good sauce to transcend them from bland to spectacular. This Mouclade with its simple herbal sauce thickened with crème fraîche does just that. But, you must use crème fraîche, the secret ingredient.

More common Mouclade recipes contain curry, and this idea is scribbled in the margin of my cookbook for next time.
"Purists may frown, but curry powder is an essential ingredient in mouclade,
one of the most popular mussel dishes served on the Brittany coast".
Stephanie Alexander, cook, restaurateur, and food writer
Mouclade is a specialty dish from the Poitou-Charentes and Bordeaux regions in France.
"Tradition has it that the farming of mussels in the Vendée, south of the Loire, dates back to 1237, when an Irish sea captain was shipwrecked on the coast. He managed to swim ashore and set bird traps in the water. The sticks supporting the nets were soon covered with huge moules (mussels), much larger than those growing on the rocks. Even now, mussels are cultivated on stakes in much the same way."
— Anne Willan in The Country Cooking of France
The mussels are steamed in a bath of butter, onions, shallots, and wine. After straining the sauce and setting the mussels aside, the sauce is reduced a bit. Then crème fraîche is added along with a sprinkle of thyme. Just like that, you have a one-pot meal that you could easily serve at a fancy dinner party.


Serves 6

Mouclade (Mussels with Wine and Cream Sauce) mise en place
3 pounds mussels
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large onion, chopped fine
1 large shallot, chopped fine
½ cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
Freshly ground pepper
½ cup crème fraîche or heavy cream (I would use sour cream)
1 sprig fresh thyme or ¼ teaspoon dried

You can find the recipe for Mouclade (Mussels with Wine and Cream Sauce) in the book Le Cordon Bleu at Home. To see how the rest of the Whisk Wednesdays group fared with their recipe, click here (or check out the sidebar) and then click on each blogger!

Serve with Muscadet.

Mouclade (Mussels with Wine and Cream Sauce)Tasting Notes
Pull out the mussel with a fork or an empty mussel shell. Scoop up as much sauce as the mussel will hold. Taste. Repeat. Finish the remaining sauce in your bowl with a fresh slice of baguette. Lick your fingers. Help yourself to another bowl.

Next Class
• Huîtres Chaudes au Muscadet (Poached Oysters with Muscadet Sabayon Sauce) pages 383-384

Billy Bi (Mussel Soup)
• Video: Mussels Provencal (Steamed Mussels in a White Wine Sauce)
• Times Online: Mouclade
• Bitten: The Mussel Challenge

. . . . . . . . . .

Running total: $1,244.26 + $18.33 = $1,262.59
($3.05 per serving)

Butter used so far: 11 pounds, 14.5 tablespoons

. . . . . . . . . .
::Whisk Wednesdays::
We're cooking our way through a cooking school curriculum using the Le Cordon Bleu at Home cookbook. The "classes" are based on the Le Cordon Bleu curriculum found online and used as a guideline. Not all the items in the curriculum are in the cookbook, but most are. Where the items are not in the book, we try to find a suitable substitution. Find out more here.
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    Christelle said...

    Oh yes i love this dish!
    In Europe we call it moules marinieres, you might want to add it to your tags :)

    lisaiscooking said...

    I love mussels, but I've never made mouclade. Can't wait to try it. Your looks delicious!

    CookiePie said...

    Beautiful dish!!! I absolutely LOVE mussels -- yours look amazing!

    bellaguinness said...

    Shari, that first photo is spectacular! Nice job.

    Jeff said...

    Huge fan of creme fraiche but mussels are the one thing that scare me. I screwed up cooking them years ago and can't psychologically get over that. Fine if I order them in a restaurant but put them near me with a pot and I start sweating and feeling like I am going to pass out. Ok tad bit exaggeration.

    I have to break through this and this sounds great.

    Manggy said...

    Oh... That looks so good it makes me sad... Because creme fraiche is relatively rare here (and when you do find it, it's so expensive at about US$5 for 250g). Sigh... I'll just live vicariously through you, fellow mussel lover! :)

    AmyRuth said...

    Probably one of the coolest effects (FX's) I've seen. I've never eaten mussels. Must do sometime. They are kinda scary to me. I've always lived in the middle and not so trusting of their freshness, ya know? I know look for a tightly closed shell. JK just curious though is salt falling as your shutter is open? I like escargot so maybe I can be a grown up and give them a go. he he

    Eliana said...

    what I love most about mussels is soaking up the broth left behind with some crusty bread. YUM.

    Elyse said...

    Oh my goodness, Shari, these mussels look divine! I love mussels so much, but I've never made them myself. I think this fact must change. I'm going to try to make them; you've inspired me!! Great job.

    NKP said...

    I love mussels, these look absolutely delicious. I have heard that mussel farming is good for the environment, so I am willing to do my part by eating them!
    (Plus, they are blissfully inexpensive here in the GWN.)

    Giff said...

    I'm also a huge mussel fan. Had not tried this approach, and the addition of curry sounds very appealing. Thanks!

    Kayte said...

    Oh, I love the tasting notes...very good recommendations. YUM! Yours look so they are on the stage for an academy award!!

    Monica H said...

    Rinse. Repeat. Yum! These look great. I want them like NOW!

    Engineer Baker said...

    Love the tasting notes - get another bowl indeed :) It looks wonderful, and wonderfully simple.

    EB said...

    Mouclade is my new favorite word.

    Connie said...

    Hmmmm... looks delicious. I've cooked mussels with coconut cream but not with dairy cream. Definitely a must try. And soon too.

    Anonymous said...

    You know, for some reason, I've never had mussels. They sound delicious.

    Anonymous said...

    wow that first picture is gorgeous!

    Patricia @ ButterYum said...

    Wow, great blog - really wonderful photos and your food looks so yummy! I'll be visiting again!

    Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving such nice words.

    Jacque said...

    This looks like something my hubby would love. Nice job on the dish and photos too.

    Treehouse Chef said...

    Great recipe! Thanks for sharing.

    Dishin And Dishes said...

    Sooooooo pretty and scrumptious looking! My hubby loves muscles so we're gonna try this next date nite! Thanks!

    Cara of Big Girls, Small Kitchen said...

    I love this dish too! And with clams: