Moules Frites - French/Belgian Bistro Style Mussels and Chips

Total Time
15mins
Prep
5 mins
Cook
10 mins

I adore Moules Frites - for me it is quintessential French and Belgian Bistro food at its best - plus I love tactile eating! You can treat yourself to Moules Frites anywhere in France and Belgium, and for most of the year. I often make the "Moules" part at home - Moules Marinière - but now and then, for a treat I also do the "Frites" bit as well......chips or French fries! Serve these with lots of paper towels or napkins, and a glass of chilled white wine would be the perfect accompaniment! I bought special Moules Frites dishes, as shown in the photos, but a couple of bowls would be fine - and don't forget a large bowl for the shells. If you really want to be 100% authentic, it is de rigueur to serve the frites with mayonnaise my dear.....sinfully good! Vive la France! Historical Note: Did you know that French Fries are really Belgian? Deep-fried chipped potatoes ("fries" in American English; "chips" in British English) are a very popular food item – and one which the Belgians claim to have invented. They are called frieten in Dutch and frites in French, whatever the name, they are my guilty pleasure!

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Ingredients

Nutrition

Directions

  1. Frites/Chips:.
  2. Slice the potato into thin strips (2mm x 2mm) and rinse in salted water. Heat a deep fat fryer to 325°F/160°C (preferably using sunflower or groundnut oil). Place the frites/chips in and cook for 4-5 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.
  3. Moules/Mussels:.
  4. Tip the mussels into a large bowl of cold water, rinse and then drain well and pull away any 'beards'. (Fresh mussels look black and shiny and should only smell pleasantly of the deep sea - the vast majority should be tightly closed. Avoid any that smell 'fishy', look dry or are mostly open.).
  5. Place the chopped onion, shallot and garlic in a saucepan with the olive oil, gently sweat them over a low to medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until slightly soft.
  6. Add the chopped herbs, and pernod or pastis if using and mix with the onion mixture.
  7. Add the washed mussels to the pan and cover with dry white wine, bring slowly to the boil, then simmer gently whilst stirring. Continue until the mussels have opened - discard any that do not open, this can take between 2 to 5 minutes.
  8. Add the creme fraiche if using, mixing through the cooked and opened mussles. Cover until the frites/chips are cooked.
  9. Whilst the moules are cooking, turn up the deep fryer to 375°F/190°C and salt the frites/chips. Add the frites/chips back to the oil for around 1 minute until golden and crispy.
  10. Serve the moules in a deep bowl with the frites/chips on the side - providinf plenty of napkins and a large bowl for the shells.
  11. Note - to make the best frites/chips your uncooked frites/chips should be washed in cold water and dried thoroughly before cooking.