Carey says: “The 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 pretences.”
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
3 T (45 ml) coarse salt
1 sprig rosemary or 2 t (10 ml) dried
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
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
Michael’s wine recommendation – CLICK HERE
Carey Boucher Erasmus is a food writer, photographer, recipe developer and restaurant consultant.
She says, “As far as I can remember, I loved being in the kitchen. I grew up watching my mother in wonder as she prepared a myriad of dishes on any given day. And when my grandmother baked, I would be the official bowl licker. I even owned a mini wooden oven and stove set and always imagined myself being a chef while “cooking up” pots of mud and grass.
When I was old enough to reach the real stove and sink, I started cooking and experimenting – from dodgy rubbery microwave chocolate cake to edible and sometimes rather delicious meals. I loved home-economics in high school and even joined a “catering society”.
After matric, I studied Food science and Nutrition at Cape Technikon where I specialised in recipe, product development, nutrition and food communication (styling, food demonstrating etc.). In my final year, I graduated with 8 distinctions and achieved the title of Class valedictorian which I was pretty chuffed about. I was ready to go out into the food industry!”
Do follow her on her website – http://bitsofcarey.co.za