Moules et Frites
Belgians are famous for their passion for mussels and chips. Wherever you go in Belgium you will find mussels on the menu. On street stalls in Brussels you can even purchase chips in baguettes. The Belgians eat their chips with mayonnaise or frites sauce which is really just a tartar sauce, you will find this even in Mcdonalds in Belgium. This is one of my favourite accompaniments to chips, my other favourite is Thai sweet chilli sauce. When cooking chips you should always use good floury potatoes such as Maris Piper or King Edward. You need to rinse your potatoes in water to remove the starch before cooking, I like to soak mine for 30 minutes when time allows. To get a crisp chip you should deep fry them twice once in oil at 160°C and then at 190°C, this should give you a nice crispy chip with a tender centre.
Portions: 4 Portions
Preparation: 20 minutes
Cooking: 15 minutes
- 1.5 -2kg Mussels
- 200ml dry white wine
- 1-2 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 100g butter
- 5 tsp parsley, finely chopped
- Maldon salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 lemon, cut into quarters
- A side bowl to place the shells, and a bowl with water and a slice of lemon to clean fingers
- 800g floury potatoes e.g. Maris Pipers)
- Oil for deep frying
- Mayonnaise or Frites Sauce, (optional) recipe follows
- Mussels: Wash, scrub and debeard the mussels. Any mussels that are open give them a sharp tap if they remain open discard them with any that have broken shells.
- Place the white wine in a large saucepan with the mussels and bring it to the boil then reduce it to a simmer and cook with the lid on for 2-3 minutes until the mussel shells open, any that do not open discard. Remove the mussels from the pan and keep warm.
- Strain the wine and return it to the pan bring it to the simmer and whisk in the butter so that is well incorporated. Stir in three tablespoons of the parsley and a little salt and freshly ground pepper. Return the mussels to the pan and cook them for a minute until heated through.
- To Serve: Distribute the mussels with the cooking liquid among 4 bowls or deep plates and sprinkle over the remaining parsley and place a lemon wedge on the side of the plate. Serve with a side plate and bowl with water and slice of lemon.
- Chips: Peel the potatoes and cut them into wedges 5-7cm long and .5-1cm wide and thick. Place the potatoes in a bowl of cold water and leave them to stand for 10-30 minutes or rinse them thoroughly in cold water. Remove the potatoes from the water and dry them thoroughly.
- Heat some oil in a deep fryer, wok or large saucepan to 150-160°C (the oil should half fill the container). When hot cook the potatoes in batches for 4-5 minutes until they are tender but not golden, drain the potatoes on some kitchen paper (It is important not to overcrowd as this will reduce the cooking temperature and will stop them from cooking evenly). Heat the oil to 180-190°C and cook the potatoes in batches for 1-2 minutes so that they are golden and crisp, when removed from the oil place them on kitchen paper to drain. Sprinkle with a little salt and serve. *To test the temperature of the oil use a thermometer or to test it has reached 190°C drop a cube of bread in it and the bread should float to the top and be golden.
- To Serve: Serve the chips on a side plate with a little frites sauce on the side if using or place them on the side of the plate with the mussels.