Moules et Frites (With a Taste of Louisiana)
That Moules et Frites is the national dish of Belgium is enough to get me to this country. Anyone who has tried these large steaming pots of mussels in savory broth, accompanied by a bowl of Belgian frites and homemade mayonnaise, will understand why this dish is so popular. (Note that it’s Belgian fries and not French fries!) Of course, there is the range of Belgian beers that go with it.
Moule Marinere is the most common method of cooking mussels as it’s prepared with white wine, shallots, parsley and a little butter, keeping the flavors of the mussels clean. Some people prefer to have it cooked in cream or grilled with cheese, ah well – chacun a son goût! Thank you to our friends in Belgium who added a taste of Louisiana to a national treat.
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 egg yolk
1 cup canola oil, plus more for frying
2 tsp. white wine vinegar
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
½ tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste
½ tsp. of favorite Cajun Spice
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 lb. Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1⁄4″-thick sticks
2 ½ lb. mussels, debearded and scrubbed
2/3 cup dry white wine
2 tbsp. unsalted butter, cubed
3 ribs celery, finely chopped
1 ½ leeks, light green and white parts, cut into 1⁄4″-thick slices
½ large yellow onion, finely chopped
Mayonnaise: In a large bowl, whisk mustard and egg yolk. Whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in oil in a thin stream until it begins to emulsify; whisk in vinegar, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Set aside.
Fries: Pour oil into a 6-qt. Dutch oven to a depth of two inches, and heat over medium-high heat until a deep-fry thermometer reads 375°. Add potatoes and cook until tender, about eight minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer fries to a rack set over a rimmed baking sheet; chill. Increase oil temperature to 385°. Working in batches, add chilled potatoes and cook until golden brown and crisp, about four minutes. Using a slotted spoon, return fries to rack; season with salt.
Mussels: Heat a 12-inch high-sided skillet over high heat. Add mussels, wine, butter, celery, leeks, and onions; season with salt and pepper and Cajun spice, and cover skillet. Cook, occasionally shaking skillet, until all mussels are opened, about five minutes. Divide mussels between two large bowls. Serve with fries and mayonnaise.