One Frenchman’s Quest for Moules Frites in Austin + the Perfect Recipe

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This post is my gift to those who take the time to stop by my page and listen to what I have to say. It is from an article that I wrote for Wide Open Eats, with the express intention of sharing here.

Naturally, I feel that those of you stopping by would be interested in a quick, delectable recipe that will whisk you off to the Côte d’Azure at your first bite. Let me know if you make it and can suggest any improvements or if you have any irresistible and unusual recipes of your own!

If moules frites means nothing to you, then let me translate: mussels and fries. There, does that sound better? It should. This somehow odd combination of salty fries + a white wine sauce that is mixed with the brine of the sea is everything you’ve ever dreamed of.

Especially if you’ve ever been to Belgium or the south of France, you know how addictive this meal can be. People actually go out of their way to visit a city just for the moules frites. (Yes, I will admit that I must include myself in this statistic.)

#moulesfrites

A post shared by Laura Kastrup (@laurakastrup) on

However, if you are not located in Europe, finding good moules frites can be a challenge. Thankfully, Austin had my French partner and I covered. For several years, Sagra was the go-to spot on Tuesdays for bottomless mussels.

But then Sagra was out of business and the Belgian mussel and fries chain Léon still had not crossed the pond, so we found ourselves high, dry, and moules frites-less.

Therefore we decided to learn how to make mussels and fries ourselves.

COOKING ENGLISH MOULES FRITES

It turns out that finding an acceptable recipe for moules frites in English is more difficult than you would imagine it to be. Trust me I tried. It took me ages of scouring the internet and using my extensive taste testing experience to find a recipe that I liked.

beer-steamed moules frites
Local Milk

When I finally found one, it was great, but it turned out that I prefer a more classic white wine sauce to a beer-based one so I needed another recipe. The other problem with this recipe was that it suddenly became a marshmallow recipe and I hadn’t saved the original one!

However, I’m still going to link you to the recipe in case it gets replaced with the original one again. I promise it’s worth bookmarking and checking back on because they were really good. Especially if you’re a beer fan.

COOKING IN FRENCH

Thank goodness, however, that someone in my house speaks French. Apparently, finding a decent mussels and fries recipe is as easy as googling when you speak the language. Well, also being able to call your French mother to discuss the particulars of the recipe so that you’ll meld the correct nuances of flavor into the sauce helps.

However, since many of us don’t have the hereditary connection to years of experience cooking moules frites on the coast of southern France, I figured I’d spare you the agony of never being able to access an authentic recipe like this and translate ours for you.

MOULES FRITES À LE FRANÇAIS QUI HABITE À AUSTIN

  • 4 liters of mussels
  • 30 g of butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 150ml dry white wine
  • 1 level teaspoon of flour
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 7 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • Salt
  • Pepper

PREPARATION

Chop the onion finely.

Wash the mussels thoroughly.

Put in a big sauce pot: 1 tablespoon of butter, chopped onions, and the white wine. Let the mussels open in the covered pot that is over a medium fire for several minutes. Make sure to mix the mussels 2 or 3 times during the cooking period.

Take all the open mussels out of the pot and put them aside into a warmed, covered bowl so that they retain their heat. Dispose of all the unopened mussels.

Put the pot back onto the fire with the remaining juice and add 1 level teaspoon of flour and one teaspoon of butter. Incorporate them both into the juice by letting the juice come to a boil for an instant and then removing the sauce from the fire. Salt and pepper.

Return the mussels to the pot, mix, and serve.

Oven-Baked-Matchstick fries
Minimalist Baker

Of course I can’t forget the fries! They are an essential part of this recipe. Seriously, the french even have a verb for using bread or fries to soak up a delicious sauce. (It’s saucer.)

So clearly you cannot forget to make these if you want to enjoy your moules frites properly! For the French fries: try this recipe here.

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Eric Johnson says:

    I’m so hungry now. a restaurant near me serves mussels in a Pernod cream with garlic and chili flakes. I get a plate of fries just to mop up the extra sauce.

    Like

    1. Jessica says:

      Oh!! That sounds WONDERFUL. I’m obsessed with trying anything and everything. Now I’m currently getting into preserving so that I get to enjoy food a second time!

      Like

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