How to make Moules Mariniere

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Serves four to six people

Some dishes are meant to be savoured alone, other dishes are perfect for couples, and some dishes are simply designed to be dived into as a group, and shared heartily among friends.

In this final camp sits the French classic, Moules Mariniere, a beautiful dish of mussels steamed in wine, sweetened by shallots and thickened with cream.

This is one of those dishes that seems complicated and restauranty, but is in fact incredibly quick and easy to prepare, and is always sure to impress. Get the mussels fresh, alive and in season from your fishmonger, and you can’t go wrong.

What you'll need:

  • Two Kilograms of fresh, live mussels
  • One clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • Two whole shallots, finely chopped
  • About fifteen grams of butter
  • Some parsley, thyme and bay leaves, tied together in a bouquet garni
  • One hundred millilitres of good, dry white wine (Riesling or Muscadet work best)
  • One hundred and twenty millilitres of double cream
  • A handful of roughly chopped parsley
  • Crusty bread to serve



Preparing your mussels is probably the only slightly tricky and time-consuming part of this dish, but it’s vitally important to avoid any nasty surprises later on. Start by rinsing the mussels well under a running cold tap for some time, and immediately discard any open ones, unless the close firmly after giving them a hard tap.


Now start removing the ‘beards’ of the shellfish - this is the fibrous, hairy part that some of them will have sticking out of their shells. A good tug will generally do the job. Any barnacles can be knocked off with a knife.


Get a big, deep saucepan, and soften the garlic and shallots in your butter, along with the tied herbs.


Throw in all your mussels, along with the wine, and turn up the heat and cover. The mussels will steam in the wine and their own juices, and after four minutes, they’ll be ready. Check for any which are still closed and discard, although this can be done when they’re already served.


Remove from the heat, and remove the bouquet garni. Now stir in the cream and chopped parsley, and serve in a bowl with the crusty bread. Don’t forget to provide your guests with a bowl for the empty shells, along with some napkins or a finger bowl. This can get messy, but it’s all part of the fun.

Wine pairing for Moules Mariniere

This is fun, lighthearted food, made to enjoyed with friends on sunny afternoons. Its lightheartedness is accentuated by the fact that the wine pairing is easy and guaranteed to be a success, because you’re going to serve the dish with the same wine you cooked with.

A good Alsace Riesling is probably the most perfect choice to go with Moules Mariniere because when cooked, it takes on a sweetness which complements the natural sugars in the shellfish, but when drunk from a glass, it has a delicious sharpness and mineral quality that cuts through the cream and beautifully accentuates the briney nature of the dish as a whole.

Try this once, and you’ll be making it time and time again!

There you have it -- an easy recipe for the perfect Moules Mariniere.

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