Monday, 18 April 2011

Cooking: Les moules et les frites avec l'aïoli

I haven't posted for a while, so hello and thanks for reading!

Here's another reason to love my neighbourhood – I love my new-ish (opened in 2010) local fishmongers Fin & Flounder (71 Broadway Market, London E8 4PH Tel: 0783 8018395). Their seafood are sustainably caught, reasonably priced and the guys are very knowledgeable despite they're all young. What I like about them is that they bring back the nostalgia of a local fishmonger – a bit of chit chat, they are passionate about what they do and their enthusiasm to get to know their customers even if it's by means of Twitter.

Moules et Frites avec aïoli

Last week, I dreamt of a big bowl of Moules Frites. On Saturday, I went down to Broadway Market to purchase some mussels from Fin & Flounder. I had no time to make my own sourdough bread that day (it needs some premeditation – I need to plan and prepare at least a day before making one, it really deserves its own post) so I went to E5 Bakehouse for it, it was hot off the oven too! One stop shop, I can get everything in my hood! London Fields was absolutely heaving, the Lobsters were out but sadly left all their rubbish behind when I return from my run in the evening. Shame on them!

Moules et Frites avec aïoli

This recipe takes on a bit of Nigella/Delia approach. It's okay to cheat a little, sometimes. These oven frites are a much easier and healthy alternative to deep frying or double frying chips. I don't have the patience on this occassion and it's too much work deep frying frankly. Oh, the aïoli is also lazy made too.

Recipe Serves 1

Moules et Frites avec aïoli

For Frites:
2 medium sized yellow fleshed or russet potatoes
1-2 tablespoon olive oil
4 sprigs fresh thyme, or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 425ºF/200ºC. Leave the skin on, cut potatoes lengthwise into thick slices, then into 1/2-inch-by-1/2-inch-thick strips. Place them in a bowl of cold water until ready to use. Drain and dry proper on kitchen towels.
  2. Toss potatoes with oil and spread out on a baking sheet / roasting pan. Scatter thyme sprigs over potatoes. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, turning occasionally, until potatoes are brown and crisp on all sides. Meanwhile prepare mussels (see below instruction 1 for Moules Marinière)
  3. Remove from oven, discard thyme stems (the leaves will have fallen off), sprinkle with sea salt and pepper.
Note: Only cook the mussels when the potatoes are nearly ready, the mussels takes no time to cook! If you're twirling thumbs looking for things to do, then it's a good time to prepare the aïoli.

Moules et Frites avec aïoli

For Lazy Aïoli:
1 small clove of garlic
1 teaspoon of prepared Coleman's tartar sauce
3 teaspoon of store-bought mayonnaise

  1. Press the clove of garlic through a garlic press into a dipping bowl.
  2. Combine tartar sauce and mayonnaise with the garlic and mix well. Let sit and allows flavour to mingle before serving.

Moules et Frites avec aïoli

For Moules Marinière:
1/2 lb fresh & live mussels, scrubbed and debearded
(General rule is 1/2 to 1 lb mussels per person but get a few more in case you need to discard some)

1 medium finely minced shallot
4 sprigs of thyme
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Small knob of butter
1 small glass of white wine of choice
Pinch of coarse sea salt

  1. Preparing mussels: DO NOT soak them in water, this will kill them because they live in sea water! Give each mussel a little tab to see if it closes, if it doesn't, it's dead. Discard. If its shell is cracked, discard. Use a scrub pad or brush to give the mussels a good scrub. Remove any barnacles if necessarily. To debeard, pull the beard towards the crack joint of the shells, sometimes they can be a bit tough, go on, give it a bit of elbow grease, will ya?
  2. Put mussels, butter, wine, shallots, salt, and thyme in a medium pot. Cover, and cook over high heat, shaking pot occasionally, until mussels open, about 4 minutes. Discard any unopened shells. Sprinkle with parsley; gently toss. Serve with toasted butter bread.
For more photos and to see my other gastronomic treats, please see my Flickr album.


    CallieK said...

    Oh that looks so yummy! If I come to visit this summer will you make it for me?

    Stylishly yours said...

    Oh, it was delicious! Yes of course! Perhaps you can give me tips on my forest garden too!!

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