I had Moules Frites for the first time at The Hopleaf Bar in Chicago. Mussels Steamed in Belgian Ale with Fennel. I’ve had Moules Frites since then but never quite like the Hopleaf’s! So in the spirit of Truality Bar and Grill… I made it myself! The selection of the Belgian White Ale was very important so I went to the best. Danny Gold of the Party Source beer department!
For the Mussels
1 12 Oz bottle white Belgian Ale
1 Bulb Fennel sliced thin
1 Leek sliced thin
2-3 Ozs chopped parsley
3 Sprigs thyme
2 Cloves garlic sliced thin
1/4 Cup butter
Salt and cracked pepper to taste
Preparing Mussels for cooking Video
Tip: In addition to the video I would add…When cooking with wild mussels using the technique of flushing them with flour water to remove the sediment from inside. Cover your mussels with water and add a small amount of flour to the water. Let stand in water for up to an hour. The mussels will flush the remaining sediment out. Rinse and cover with water for an additional 20 minutes. “Farm Raised” mussels are pretty much sediment free and do not require flushing them.
The selection of the Belgian White Ale was very important so I went to the best. Danny Gold of the Party Source Beer Department was quite helpful and understood exactly what I was looking for in re-creating this classic Belgian Dish. Danny recommended Blache De Bruxelles which was a perfect match to the mussels, fennel and leeks.
In a large skillet or dutch oven melt butter over medium heat. Saute garlic and leeks until translucent, about 4-5 minutes. Drizzle in about a Tbsp of olive oil and add fennel, thyme and parsley. Saute an additional 3 minutes or so. Add one bottle of Belgian White or Blonde ale. When the liquid has come to a bubbling simmer add mussels and cover. Cook mussels for about 4-5 or until opened. It won’t take long! Serve in a bowl with broth and sprinkle with a little chopped parsley. Make sure to have a quality loaf of crusty bread; preferably French Baguette to soak up the broth.
For the Pomme Frites; French Fries.
Using a mandoline slicer cut potatoes into thin strips. There is no need to peel the potatoes; just make sure to wash them well. Cover cut potatoes with water for about 30 minutes; this helps remove some starch to prevent them from sticking together while cooking.
Tip: It is very important to dry the potatoes thoroughly before cooking to avoid being burned with oil splatter. Also be very careful to not add too many potatoes to the oil at a time. My first time I added too many; the oil bubbled over onto my stove almost causing a kitchen fire. I stress… be very, very careful!
Use only enough oil to come up less than half way full in your pan. Using too much oil will result in a bubble over onto your stove top. Heat oil to 350 degrees. Fry potatoes in batches for about 4-5 minutes. I like my fries cooked past golden to a little brown. Remove to a paper towel lined dish and season immediately while hot.