South­west France

MOULES MARINIÈRE (Moules marinière)

Lonely Planet (UK) - - French Food Tour -

From the mo­ment you re­move the lid of the char­ac­ter­is­tic black enamel pot and re­veal the steam­ing mus­sels, laced with white wine and pars­ley, the briny aroma of moules marinière will in­stantly trans­port you to the sea­side. You may well be there al­ready, for moules marinière is served in al­most ev­ery beach­side bistro in France. You could also be miles from the sea, such is the ubiq­uity of this favourite seafood dish. At the Hô­tel de la Plage, a 19th-cen­tury can­teen for forestry work­ers, which is tucked be­tween oys­ter-farm­ers’ huts on the Cap Fer­ret penin­sula, it’s a favourite dish for both lo­cals and tourists. Here, the clat­ter of empty mus­sel shells be­ing dropped into the pot’s deep lid is as fa­mil­iar a sound as the clink­ing of glasses. For his ver­sion of moules marinière, which uses olive oil as well as but­ter, chef Bruno Grand-Clé­ment uses the lo­cal catch, moules de bou­chot. ‘It’s a sim­ple recipe: shal­lots, gar­lic, thyme, but­ter, white wine and pars­ley,’ says Bruno. ‘My mother is Bre­ton, so I grew up with lots of seafood and ate moules marinière all the time as a child. Ev­ery­one has their own story to tell about them.’

74 Moules marinière are en­joyed all over France, yet the aroma of mus­sels, gar­lic and pars­ley is par­tic­u­larly evoca­tive of sea­side restau­rants and bistros

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