Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: +- 25 minutes
Serves: 2
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mussels in white wine and garlic with fritesThe first time I encountered mussels and frites was in Nice, France some years ago. I remember finding it a strange combo but once I tucked in, it became a foodie revelation in my books. Fresh mussels simply steamed in a flavourful white wine and garlic broth served with crispy fries, garlicky aioli and of course, lots of bread for dunking. Absolute perfection!  I think this is a rather romantic meal, very social and sensual with no pretenses. Michelle and I had a giggle and thought it would be quite novel to call this post, “Love Mussels” for Valentine’s Day, it sums this meal up pretty well, yes?

Mussels in White Wine & Garlic with Frites

1 kg fresh mussels, washed
80 g butter
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 t (5 ml) dried tarragon
2 c (500 ml) fruity dry white wine
+- 2 T (30 ml) chicken or vegetable stock concentrate to taste
zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 1/2 a lemon (or to taste)
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Handful of freshly chopped flat leaf parsley
4 large potatoes, peeled and cut into thin fries
Cooking oil for deep frying
Rosemary Salt:
3 T (45 ml) coarse salt
1 sprig rosemary or 2 t (10 ml) dried
Cheat’s Aioli:
1/2 c (125 ml) Hellman’s creamy mayonnaise
1 fat clove garlic, crushed
zest of 1 lemon
3 T (45 ml) finely chopped chives
Salt and pepper to taste
To serve:
1 x crusty artisan baguette

In a large pan, heat the butter until bubbling and starts in become golden. Add the garlic, tarragon, white wine and stock and simmer uncovered for +- 20 minutes to develop the flavours and reduce slightly. Season with lemon zest, juice, salt and pepper. Add the mussels to the flavourful broth, cover and allow to simmer and steam for 3- 4 minutes or until ALL the mussels have opened. Discard mussels that have not opened. Add the parsley. Check seasoning again.
Meanwhile, heat the oil for the frites. Make sure the fries are very dry before adding to the hot oil. Fry until golden and crispy. Place on paper towel to absorb excess oil.
Bash the salt and rosemary together until the salt becomes fragrant and sprinkle lightly onto the frites.
Mix the garlic, lemon zest and chives with the mayonnaise and season to taste.
Serve the pan of mussels with seasoned frites, aioli and some crusty bread to mop up the delicious broth.

Recipe and styling: Carey Erasmus
Photography by: Michelle Parkin Photography

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