My sister Trine, aka Sister T, makes the most amazing mussels, and I finally I got her to share her recipe! Trine’s version is so great that I no longer bother ordering moules frites or moules marinières when dining at restaurants, as they usually cannot compare to Trine’s mussels, and I end up disappointed.
The secret ingredient, that sets Trine’s Moules Marinières apart from the rest, is beef broth (!), which she has discovered perfectly complements the flavor of the mussels.
Trine’s broth is richer than the broth in most other Moules Marinières I have tried. While traditional recipes often involves simply steaming the mussels in white wine for a couple of minutes, Trine takes it a step further and allows the wine to simmer and reduce with the other ingredients, ultimately creating a delicious, soup-like, broth. Yum!
How to clean the mussels
One of the most critical steps in the preparation process is cleaning the mussels, as they can carry sand and grit, which can really ruin the dining experience. If you are using farmed mussels, they are usually packed clean and with the beard removed, so you can go quicker through the steps mentioned below.
Step 1 – Inspect Your Mussels: Before you begin cleaning, inspect each mussel carefully. Look for any that are cracked or have broken shells, as these should be discarded. Gently tap any open mussels on a hard surface, and if they don’t close within a few minutes, discard them as well. If the mussel doesn’t close, it means that it is no longer alive and thus should not be consumed.
Step 2: Scrub the Shells Using a stiff-bristled brush, scrub the exterior of each mussel to remove any remaining debris, algae, or barnacles. Pay special attention to the crevices around the hinges and the edges of the shells, as these areas tend to accumulate the most grime.
Step 3 Remove the Beard: The “beard” is a fibrous thread-like structure that mussels use to attach themselves to surfaces in their natural habitat. To remove the beard, simply pull it firmly, until it detaches.
Step 4 – Soak and Rinse: Fill a large bowl with cold water and submerge the mussels for about 20 minutes. This soaking process encourages the mussels to expel any sand or grit trapped inside their shells. After soaking, drain the water and rinse the mussels thoroughly under cold running water. You can repeat this step if needed, until the water is clear.