Steamed Mussels & Pommes Frites

by NICHOLAS AMMATURO on June 30th, 2010

I would never would have thought that people eat Mussels with French Fries, but it is a delicious combination. This is common on French & Belgian bistro menu’s. This dish pairs perfectly with a nice light white wine or a crisp Belgian beer. I plan on serving this with some Hoegaarden or Leffe, depending on what I can pick up. I just had fresh mussel’s this past weekend on Montauk, NY and now I am craving them again. They are one of the easiest things to make, they basically have a built in timer once they open, they’re done.

I would urge you to make sure you get them from a trusted fish source, you want to make sure these little guys are alive.

Ingredients

STEAMED MUSSELS w/ PROSCUITTO (serves 4-6)

  • 1 large fennel bulb with fronds, base trimmed, bulb & fronds roughly chopped
  • 2 medium yellow onions, peeled and chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • Few Sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 4 lbs mussels, debearded and scrubbed
  • 4 TBSP butter
  • 1 small shallot, peeled and chopped
  • 3oz prosciutto, large diced
  • Crusty French Bread

POMMES FRITES

  • 6 Russet Potatoes
  • 3-4 qts Corn Oil / Peanut Oil (depending on what you’re frying them in)
  • Salt
  • Old Bay

 

FOR THE MUSSELS

 

 

Put fennel, three-quarters of the onions, one-third of the garlic, lemon, thyme, bay leaves, peppercorns, wine, and 4 cups water into a large pot with a tight-fitting lid and boil over high heat for 2-3 minutes. Add mussels, cover pot, and give pot a good shake to mix mussels and the aromatics together. Steam mussels, giving pot a good shake occasionally, until shells just open, about 10 minutes. Discard any shells that don’t open.

 

Strain mussels through a colander set over a large bowl. Set aside 1/2 cup of the strained broth, then serve remaining broth, if you like, in cups, adjusting seasonings with a little salt, or save broth for another use. Cover mussels with a clean dishcloth to keep them warm.

Melt butter in same pot over medium heat. Add remaining onions and garlic, shallots, and prosciutto and cook until onions are soft, about 10 minutes. Discard aromatics from pile of mussels in colander, then add mussels to pot. Add reserved 1⁄2 cup broth, cover pot, and shake several times to mix mussels and ham mixture together. Heat mussels over medium heat until warmed through

Cut bread in half, drizzle with olive oil and throw on the grill or place under the broiler to crisp up. Cut up into strips to serve with the Mussels

Place the bread at the bottom of the bowl or off to the side and scoop the mussels on top of it, making sure to spoon some of the broth into the bowl as well.

DSC_0056

 

FOR THE POMMES FRITES

Wash & scrub the potatoes. You can peel them or choose to leave the skin on them for a rustic look.  Cut them into batons that are about the length and width of your index finger. I used a potato cuter that I had recently purchased. It ended up being very cheap and it was not worth the $20.00 I spent on it. I plan on upgrading to a commercial grade potato cutter

Preheat a deep pot of oil to 325 degrees F.

For the first fry, deep fry potatoes in the oil for 5 to 6 minutes, or until a light golden color. Do not over load fryer. Fry in 3 batches if necessary. Remove the potatoes using a slotted spoon, and allow them to cool to room temperature.

Raise the temperature of the oil to 375 degrees F.

 

For the second fry, deep-fry the potatoes for 2 minutes, or until crispy. Remove potatoes, and transfer into a colander or bowl. While still hot, salt the potatoes & sprinkle with old bay

Serve along side the mussels and a nice glass of white wine or a beer

Mussels recipe- courtesy of Saveur.com

Pommes Frites recipe- courtesy of Pommes Frites in New York, NY

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