Belgian Date Night – Moules Frites

One of Belgium’s classic dishes is Moules Frites – mussels steamed in a white wine sauce with fries.  Adrienne makes a great mussel potjie in a garlic cream sauce, so the challenge was on to see whether I could make a mussel dish that would measure up.

Moules Frites

The Moules

There’s different ways to cook the mussels for this dish.   I opted for a simple white wine sauce.

Add 450g half shell mussels, 80ml white wine, 1 tbsp butter, 1 rib celery (finely chopped),1/4 onion (finely chopped), salt and pepper to a heated pot and cover.  Let this steam for around 5 minutes.

You can find a recipe for this dish here.

Mussels steaming in a white wine sauce
Mussels steaming in a white wine sauce
The Frites

The challenge was making the perfect frite that is soft on the inside and crispy on the outside without a deep fryer, thermometer or any deep frying experience.

To remove some of the starch, soak 3 potatoes covered in cold water overnight.

Drain, cut into strips and soak for another couple of hours.

Heat 500ml sunflower oil in a wok and test to see whether the oil is hot enough by putting one of the chips in the oil.

If the oil is hot enough, fry in 2 batches until  tender in the middle, but still nearly white. This should take about 5 minutes per batch.

Let them cool and refrigerate them again.

Just before serving, heat the oil and fry until golden and crisp.

Deep frying the frites a second time
Deep frying the frites a second time

Season with some coarse salt and serve.

You can find a more detailed recipe here.

Verdict

The mussels were delicious – the acidity of the white wine creating a sauce full of flavour without being overpowering.   Alas – not better than Adrienne’s famous mussel potjie – will have to try again another time.

The fries were soft inside and crispy outside – well worth the effort of soaking and double frying.

Sole Meuniere

For the main course I made another classic Belgian dish – Sole Meuniere.

Dredge sole fillets in seasoned flour and fry in hot butter at a medium-low heat for 2 minutes on each side.

While the second side cooks, add a little lemon zest and juice to the pan.  Season and serve.

You can find the full recipe here.

Sole Meuniere
Sole Meuniere

Dessert was a low carb chocolate cake with Lindt ganache and  Belgian chocolate shavings.

Chocolate cake
Chocolate cake

We enjoyed this with a Fat Bastard Chardonnay and an Odd Bins 353 Chardonnay

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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