Mussels in a light cream sauce brings back memories of eating on the terrace of a small restaurant in Normandy, breathing the fresh sea air and drinking a chilled glass of white wine. What a treat!
The French celebrate Bastille Day on July 14. Salute them with this easy-to-prepare delicious dinner.
Figure about 2 pounds mussels per person. Store the mussels in the refrigerator. The commercially raised mussels available today are cleaner than they used to be. Just wash them in cold water before using. Scrape off the beard or thin hairs along the shell. This is how the mussel attaches themselves to the rocks. If any mussels are open, tap them gently. Discard any that do not close.
Helpful hints: Fish broth can be substituted for the white wine, if preferred. Slice the vegetables in a food processor fitted with a slicing blade.
Quick fix: Start prepping the vegetables. While vegetables cook, wash mussels. Then finish the dish.
Moules a la Normande (Mussels in cream sauce)
Vegetable oil spray
2 cups sliced onion
1 cup sliced carrots
1 cup sliced celery
½ cup dry white wine
Freshly ground black pepper
4 pounds mussels
¼ cup light cream
¼ cup chopped parsley
½ French baguette
Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Spray with vegetable oil spray. Saute the onion, carrot, and celery until they start to shrivel but not color, about 10 minutes. Add the white wine and some freshly ground pepper. Add the mussels and cover the saucepan tightly. Bring the liquid to the boil. Let boil about 3 minutes. The wine will boil up over the mussels and they will open. As soon as they are open, take the pan off the heat. Do not overcook. The mussels will become rubbery, if you do.
With a slotted spoon, transfer the mussels to 2 bowls, discarding any unopened ones. Add the cream to the saucepan and return it to the stove. Bring the liquid to a simmer and reduce about 1 minute. Spoon the sauce and vegetables over the mussels and sprinkle parsley on top. (Leave about ¼ inch of broth in the pan as it may be gritty.) Serve with baguette slices.
Yield 2 servings. Nutrition per serving: 594 calories (25 percent from fat), 16.3 grams fat (5.3 grams saturated, 5.1 grams monounsaturated), 100 milligrams cholesterol, 41.9 grams protein, 60.7 grams carbohydrates, 6.6 grams fiber, 1,183 milligrams sodium.