Belgium's Moules Frites (Mussels & Chips)
June 23, 2019
"This authentic Belgium classic is one of Gordan Ramsey's recipes. It consists of mussels served alongside chips "French Fries or so called Belgium Fries" and is ever so popular. About 30 million tons of Moules Frites are eaten every year in Belgium (that’s 3kg a person), in a season that runs from September to February. The most common way to cook them is in white wine, shallots, parsley and butter (la marinere) although other recipes replace the wine with Belgian beer, add cream (la crème), or use vegetable stock."
- FOR CHIPS
- FOR MAYONNAISE
- Serving Size: 1 (1421 g)
- Calories 2647.8
- Total Fat - 204.5 g
- Saturated Fat - 43.5 g
- Cholesterol - 2845.4 mg
- Sodium - 1569.2 mg
- Total Carbohydrate - 93.9 g
- Dietary Fiber - 11.8 g
- Sugars - 11.2 g
- Protein - 103.9 g
- Calcium - 549.5 mg
- Iron - 29.1 mg
- Vitamin C - 78.9 mg
- Thiamin - 1.5 mg
Tip the mussels into a large bowl of cold water. Discard any that remain open when tapped, then drain well and pull away any ‘beards’. (Fresh mussels look black and shiny and should only smell pleasantly of the deep sea – the vast majority should be tightly closed. Avoid any that smell ‘fishy’, look dry or are mostly open.)
Thinly slice the vegetables and garlic. Roll the chili in your hands to loosen the seeds, then slit in half and shake out the seeds. Slice the flesh into thin sticks, then stack together and finely chop. Pick over the thyme sprigs, discarding the thick stalks, and pick the parsley leaves from the stalks. Prepare the chips.
Place a large, heavy-based sauté pan (with a lid) on the stove top and heat until you can feel a strong heat rising. Pour in the oil, then immediately toss in all of the vegetables, chili, and thyme. The thyme sprigs will crackle if the pan is hot enough. Cook for about 1½ minutes, shaking the pan and stirring the vegetables until they start to wilt.
With the heat still on high, toss in all the mussels and shake the pan so they form an even layer. Cover with a lid and cook for another 1-2 mins, shaking the pan once or twice. Be careful to follow the timing as to not overcook.
Uncover the pan and pour in the wine and Pernod. Shake and cook for another 1½ minutes so the wine reduces by half, then cover again and cook for another minute. Place a large colander over a bowl and tip the mussels and vegetables into the center. Discard any mussels that remain closed. Fry the chips.
Pour the strained liquid back in the pan, reheat and stir in the crème fraîche or sour cream and whole parsley leaves. Check the seasoning; you may not need any salt. Return the mussels and vegetables to the pan and reheat, shaking the pan, then divide between two large soup bowls. Serve the chips and mayonnaise (recipe below) alongside.
For the Chips
Square off four sides of each potato, then cut into 5mm slices. Stack the slices 2 or 3 a time and cut into thin 5mm sticks. Drop the chips into a large pan of cold water for 30 mins to get rid of excess starch.
Drain in a colander, then tip into a clean tea towel, gather into a bag, twist well and whirl a few times in a large circle to spin out the water (this may be best done outdoors).
In a small bowl, mix the flour, cayenne, and salt; sprinkle over the potatoes, flipping them throughout so as to distribute them evenly with the flour mixture.
Heat a deep-fat fryer, a third full of clean oil, to 180C/356F. Fry the chips, 2 handfuls at a time, in a chip basket, for about 2 minutes until they are a crisp russet brown. Tip onto a paper-lined tray and sprinkle lightly with a little more salt.
For the Mayonnaise
Put the egg yolks, mustard powder, vinegar, some seasoning and 2 teaspoons oil into a small blender and whizz for a few seconds. Then, with the blades still whirling, slowly trickle in the remaining oil until you have a thick, golden emulsion. Spoon into a small bowl, cover and chill.
NOTE 1: Make the mayo and prepare the chips (washing, slicing, etc) before you start the mussels. Fry the chips after you have cooked the mussels and while they are still draining in the colander, then finish the sauce.
Tips & Variations
No special items needed.