La mouclade

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Mussels are not a dish for every day. I have to be in a mood for it. If I am in the mood I like them when they are prepared classically with white wine or beer and served with French fries. This is the way I experienced them in Belgium (to be more exactly in Ghent) and also in the Belgium Beer Garden in Melbourne- Yum! But I recently saw a recipe by Rick Stein for “La mouclade”, which are mussels with a creamy curry sauce. This sounds even weirder as it is a famous French dish from La Rochelle. But the curry flavor is well balanced with other spices like saffron and heaps of crème fraîche so the French can trick us and it seems that curry is the most French thing ever. To be fair Germans also try the same with “Currywurst”.

Ingredients:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
• Pinch of saffron strands
• 2 kg mussels (cleaned)
• 250 ml white wine + some extra for the saffron
• 25 g butter
• 2 shallots, finely chopped
• 2 garlic cloves, minced
• 1 tsp curry powder
• 2 tbsp cognac
• 3 tsp plain flour
• 200 ml crème fraîche
• salt & pepper
• Bread to serve (especially important to soak the delicate sauce)

Heat 20 ml of white wine in a small glass for about 10s in the microwave afterwards add the saffron strands. Put the mussels and wine in a larg pot, cover and cook for about 4-5 minutes, shaking the pan now and then, until the mussels have opened. Tip the mussels into a colander set over a bowl to catch all the cooking liquid. Transfer the mussels in another pot and keep warm. Melt butter in a pot, add onion, garlic and curry powder, cook gently for about 3 minutes. Add Cognac afterwards stir in the flour and add the saffron liquid and the cooking liquid, avoid the transfer of sand or grit. Bring the sauce to simmer for 3 minutes, then add the crème fraîche and simmer again for 3 minutes or longer. Taste and season and pour the sauce over the mussels. Enjoy and don’t forget to ditch your bread into the sauce!

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