Moules et Frites (or Mussels & Fries) is one of my favorite appetizer-style dishes that seems so fancy, but is quite simple to make. Sometimes when I can get local mussels for a good deal, I’ll make a big batch and eat the whole thing, but this can easily be split among two people as an appetizer or with a big salad for a light dinner.
I make my version of Moules et Frites with a little bit of hard apple cider because it compliments the sweetness of the mussels, but you could just as easily use a splash of white wine or chicken broth. The secret to sweet potato fries that aren’t soggy is to cut them very thin like I did below. Give them some breathing room and spread them in a single layer on the baking sheet so they roast instead of steam.
- 1 lb (454 g) sweet potatoes, peeled
- 1 tbsp (15 mL) ghee or coconut oil
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- 1-1/2 lb (680 g) mussels
- 1 tbsp (15 mL) ghee
- 1 medium shallot, chopped finely
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped finely
- ¼ cup (59 mL) hard cider*
- 2 strips crispy bacon, chopped or 2 tbsp chopped salami**, for garnish
- Handful chopped parsley, for garnish
- First, get the sweet potato fries going. You can also omit these and just make the mussels which will cut the cooking time down by a lot. Preheat the oven to 400F (204C), and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper.
- Cut the sweet potatoes into thin sticks (about the size of regular French fries), then put them on the sheet and toss with the ghee, salt and pepper. Spread them into a single layer and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until lightly browned. Stir at least once during baking so they brown evenly.
- While the sweet potato fries are baking, prep the mussels. Wash the mussels with fresh water and discard any that are open or cracked. You might need to remove the beard: It’s that scraggly looking bit of stuff that’s hanging outside the shell. To do that, gently pull toward the wider end of the shell. Set the mussels aside.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, add the ghee. Then, add the shallot and garlic and cook it for about a minute, until it starts to smell amazing. Toss in the mussels and the hard cider, then increase the heat to medium-high and cover. Bring to a boil and cook for about 5 minutes or until the mussels open and release their liquid.
- Serve the mussels in a big bowl with the broth, and garnish with crispy bacon / salami and parsley. Serve the fries on the side. I like to dip mine in the broth along the way.
*I like Creminelli Fine Meats, found at Whole Foods