On Wednesday we celebrated what would’ve been the 100th birthday of one of my biggest inspirations in both food and life: Julia Child!
As a kid, I’d watch her shows less for the cooking instruction – as I was still in the Easy Bake Oven stage – but just because I found her fascinating and hilarious.
Once I was able to reach the counter tops, her fearlessness and honesty taught me that there’s nothing to fear in the kitchen. You’re going to mess up, it’s going to be OK – you’ll learn from that mistake and be a better cook because of it.
Whether it’s as simple as steaming mussels or as fancy as croquembouche, she believed in making food the right way – from scratch, using real ingredients.
And as she stated in one of my favorite books, My Life in France, “…nothing is too much trouble if it turns out the way it should.”
And making these mussels was really no trouble at all!
There is a bit of prep involved, but it happens to be the kind I find quite relaxing. I’ll go over it in case you aren’t familiar with preparing mussels.
First, you’ll want to put the mussels over ice to make sure they stay cold while you’re working. Now the inspection and cleaning phase begins!
A good mussel in one that’s closed tightly and not cracked or chipped in any way. If you come across one that’s open, give it a good tap against the counter. If it closes immediately, it’s still alive and good to go – if not, it’s already dead, throw it away!
Scrub the mussels with a brush to remove any sand, and if what they call the “beard” is present you’ll want to yank that out (see photo above).
Once cleaned, drop those dudes in your prepared soaking water (I’ll go over that in the recipe) and have a glass of wine with a friend!
You don’t necessarily have the dress up like Julia, but I feel it helps.
Also I think I need to have a kitchen towel affixed to my waist at all times. So useful!
Once you’ve done the prep, you’re 90% of the way there! Throw those beauties in a pot with some shallots, butter and wine, and go to town!
Adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking
This recipe is delicious as is, but there are tons of ingredients you could add to boost the flavor even more! Garlic, fresh tomatoes, red pepper flakes, different herbs... get crazy!