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Moules au Beurre d'Escargots
(Mussels in Garlic Butter)


"If you don't love life you can't enjoy an oyster; there is a shock of freshness
to it and intimations of the ages of man, some piercing intuition of the sea and
all its weeds and breezes.  [They] shiver you for a split second."
~ Eleanor Clark

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Moules au Beurre d'Escargots
(Mussels with Garlic Butter)

Parisian Home Cooking: Conversations, Recipes, and Tips from the Cooks and Food Merchants of Paris
Parisian Home Cooking:
Conversations, Recipes, and Tips from
the Cooks and Food Merchants of Paris

Michael Roberts, 1999, William Morrow and Co.

“ ‘I can't stand snails of any kind, not land snails, not sea snails. But I'm crazy for the butter that accompanies them.’ Thus pronounced a shopper who was buying a large sack of shiny black mussels at Marée Daguerre, the fish stand in the shopping street in the rue Daguerre. This recipes is for mussels broiled in the butter that usually accompanies snails. You can cook the mussels in the oven, covered, or under the broiler. Under the broiler, the mussels open quicker and the butter sizzles faster, cooking the garlic. Baked, covered, in the oven, though, they keep more of the mussel liquor. Either way, it's a divine way to prepare mussels.”

Makes 4 servings

16 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 bunch fresh parsley leaves
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup Pernod
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 pounds black mussels, scrubbed and debearded

Preheat the broiler or preheat the oven to 475 degrees F.
Place the garlic and parsley in a food processor and process until finely chopped. Add the butter, olive oil, Pernod, salt, and pepper and pulse until smooth. Scrape the mixture into a bowl.
Place the mussels in a large roasting pan and distribute dollops of the butter around the pan. Cover tightly and place in the oven for 10 minutes, or until the mussels have opened.
Divide the contents of the roasting pan among four soup or pasta bowls, discarding any mussels that have not opened. Serve immediately.

[ Buying and cleaning mussels:  Make sure their shells are tightly closed or will close if tapped lightly with your finger. To clean, scrub them well under cold running water with a stiff-bristled brush to remove all sand and grit. Discard any mussels that won’t close or feel unusually heavy (they’re probably filled with sand or mud). To debeard them, grasp the bit of stringy fibers that protrudes from the shell with your fingers and pull it off. Cover cleaned mussels with a damp cloth and store for up to two days in the refrigerator.]

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