Steamed mussels are a 10-minute dish that can serve as starter, snack, or main course, depending on your mood. Our version mimics moules marinières, a traditional preparation from Normandy, home to France’s finest bivalves. But consider this recipe a template for your own mussel adventures: swap in various aromatics (onions, leeks, garlic, fennel), liquids (beer, wine, broth), and herbs; or do as the Norman sailors do, and serve the mussels with a bowl of aioli for dipping.
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 medium shallot, thinly sliced
1 cup dry hard apple cider, preferably Norman
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 pounds mussels, scrubbed and debearded
¼ cup crème fraiche or heavy cream
2 tablespoons chopped parsley and/or tarragon
Crusty bread, for serving
In a No.8 (10 ¼”) cast iron skillet, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the shallot, season with salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the cider and whisk in the mustard. Bring the liquid to a simmer, add the mussels and cover the pan. Cook until all of the mussels have opened, about 5 minutes (discard any mussels that don’t open).
Transfer the mussels to a bowl. Whisk the crème fraiche into the broth and stir in the herbs. Season the liquid to taste with salt. Return the mussels and any accumulated juices to the skillet and stir a few times to rewarm the mussels. Serve with crusty bread.