Mussels for mariners

Mussels for mariners
Tired of cooking the same old boring meal of burgers and French fries? Well, toss des frites and roll up your sleeves to make this quick and simple dish from the menu of Downtown restaurant Petit Pois. Moules Marinières is a “classic French bistro dish,” says Brian Helleberg, owner of Petit Pois—it’s a dish that is as popular in French restaurants as the Eiffel Tower is on a tourist’s itinerary. And you will indeed be traveling if you make this, if only with your taste buds: About the only thing this recipe has in common with traditional, Paula Deen-style Southern dishes is the butter. Lots and lots of butter.—Jennifer Pullinger

Petit Pois’ Moules Marinières

1 1/2 cups onions
1 1/2 cups fennel
2/3 cup carrot
2/3 cup celery
head of garlic
fresh bay leaf
bundle of thyme, approximately 15 sprigs
300 ml crème fraîche or heavy whipping cream
4 lbs. live mussels
1 liter white wine
1 lb. of butter

Finely dice the onions, fennel, carrot and celery and sauté with a little bit of butter. Separate the cloves from the head of garlic and dice. Once the vegetables are tender, add garlic and sauté some more. Add the fresh bay leaf and bundle of thyme. Add one liter of white wine and let it reduce by one half. Then, add crème fraîche or heavy whipping cream. Bring to a boil. Add the live, cleaned and debearded mussels. When the mussels pop open they are done. Add the butter. Allow any whole butter that remains to emulsify. Spoon out the mussels and ladle the butter sauce over the meat. Garnish with parsley and serve with grilled bread topped with chopped parsley.