La mouclade – to serve 4
- A good pinch of saffron threads
- 1.75kg mussels, cleaned
- 120ml dry white wine
- 25g butter
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- ½ tsp medium curry powder (buy a good quality one)
- 2 tbsp cognac
- 2 tsp plain flour
- 200ml crème fraîche
- 3 tbsp chopped parsley
Moisten the saffron with a tablespoon of warm water in a small bowl.
Put the mussels and wine in a large pot, cover and cook over a high heat for 3-4 minutes, shaking the pan now and then, until the mussels have opened. Drain the mussels in a colander set over a bowl to catch the cooking liquor. Put the mussels in a large serving bowl and keep warm.
Melt the butter in a pan, add the onion, garlic and curry powder and cook gently, without browning, for a few minutes. Add the cognac and cook until almost evaporated, then stir in the flour and cook for another minute. Gradually stir in the saffron liquid and all but the last tablespoon or so of the mussel liquor (so you avoid any grit). Bring the sauce to a simmer and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the crème fraîche and simmer for another 3 minutes, until reduced a bit. Season, stir in the parsley and pour the sauce over the mussels.
Wine Suggestion: A classic match for this dish is a white Bordeaux where the fresh grassiness of Sauvignon Blanc is complemented by the richness of Semillon and structure from a bit of oak. Almost an exotic combination with the mouclade, but perfect.
(Original recipe from Rick Stein’s French Odyssey, BBC Books, 2005.)