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Seafood: Moules Colbert - A French Family Recipe

Plus: How to Buy and Clean Mussels


By Philippe Broad

PARIS, 13 FEBRUARY 2017 — Here is a delicious dish for garlic-lovers which Gabrielle would serve to us at my grandmother's villa in the south of France. Only to be eaten in the company of the love of your life, otherwise she or he may flee you for a good 24 hours! As it is served on the half-shell, and most deliciously eaten with one's fingers, large mussels are better for this dish. .


12 to 15 large fresh mussels per person, or 2 kg (4.5 lbs) in total
4 large shallots or 2 medium onions finely chopped
4 to 8 cloves of garlic (according to taste) finely chopped
Parsley chopped (same volume as shallots and garlic combined)
80g un-salted Butter
2 glasses Muscadet, Gros Plant or dry white wine
2 teaspoons Flour
1 glass cooked juice from the mussels
3 to 4 egg yolks (depending on size)
Pepper from the mill
2 Bay leaves

Buying, cleaning and preparing the Mussels


  1. Place the mussels in a large pan with 2 bay leaves and a generous quantity of pepper, and cook over a high heat. As soon as the mussels have opened, which indicates that they are cooked, begin removing them progressively from the pan. Discard one shell, tranfer to a wide flat serving dish and keep warm. Continue the process until all the mussels are cooked. Discard any mussels which do not open spontaneously. Sieve the natural juices left in the pan and keep warm.
  1. In parallel, using a shallow pan, season the shallots, garlic and parsley with pepper and cook in the butter, without browning them, until the shallots are soft. Pour in the white wine and cook briskly for 2 to 3 minutes allowing the alcohol to evaporate. Blend the flour with the juice from the mussels to produce about a glass of liquid paste. Blend into the other ingredients and allow to cook for a further 2 minutes, then remove from heat.
  1. Away from heat, add the yolks one at a time, blending them rapidly and thoroughly with the other ingredients. This will bind the sauce which should have a thick fluid consistency without being runny. Check the seasoning, adding salt if necessary, but remember that the juice from the mussels is already salty.


Pour the sauce over the mussels so as to garnish each shell. This dish is delicious both hot and warm, or served at room temperature in the summertime. It's finger food - so get out the finger-bowls! Serve with crispy rolls or French bread and a chilled dry white wine.

Our wine recommendations: Muscadet, Gros Plant or Cassis.

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