In the Maritimes, very few things scream summer like seafood. We just know it; once the fish & chip shops and seafood markets open, it’s on. And yes, I know…technically it’s not quite summer yet, but it feels like it outside, and my heart believes it’s finally here.
Aside from amazing local seafood, the produce that starts to come and hang out at local farmer’s markets this time of year is fantastic. I absolutely love how each week, there are so many more varieties of herbs & vegetables. Last weekend we found these AMAZING chive blossoms. Aren’t they gorgeous! Seriously. I can’t get over how much they look like a bouquet of flowers.
I’ve been sprinkling them on everything over the past week. They’re definitely stronger than the stalk, but if you can handle a little bite, the colour that they bring out in your dish is amazing.
A few years ago we travelled to PEI (*see Anne of Green Gables) for the weekend. There’s a culinary school located in Charlottetown that is arguably the best in the country, and that town has had some incredible restaurants open over the past few years. One night, we went out for a bite and ran into a little dish called Moules-frites. Mussels & Fries. This was completely new to me, the combo anyway, and it blew. my. mind.
After that, I ordered Moules-frites every chance I could. Paris, got em. Montreal, gimme. NYC, yes sir. The best combination of salty, finger food. Perfect with a beer in hand. Here’s a classic recipe for a classic dish. I like to sprinkle on some red chilled for extra heat, but feel free to leave that out if you’d rather.
For the mussels;
4 lbs live mussels
2 cups white wine
4 large shallots
4 cloves of garlic
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
6 tablespoons butter
2-3 red thai chillies
2 tablespoons chives
2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons basil
For the fries;
2 lbs russet potatoes
Canola oil for frying
Sea Salt & Pepper
Slice your potatoes into 1/3 inch sticks, and place them in a large bowl. Cover with cold water, and let them hang out for 30 minutes (or a couple hours).
Heat a dutch oven filled with 3 inches of canola oil to 325 degrees.
Remove the potatoes from the water, and pat dry. Working in batches, fry the potatoes for 5 – 6 minutes, until they just start to colour light brown. Remove, place on a wire rack, and continue on with the rest of your potatoes.
Rinse & scrub your mussels under cold, running water, to remove the beards (or any sea junk).
In a large dutch oven, combine your garlic, shallots, wine, and sea salt, and simmer for 5 minutes.
Pour in your mussels, and crank up the heat to medium high. Cover, and let steam until the mussels have opened (5-6 minutes). Stir in your butter and herbs, and mix well. Top with your chillies. Serve.
Now, finish your fries. Increase the temperature of your oil to 350, and again working in batches, fry your potatoes for 2 minutes, until golden brown.
Serve. Eat Delicious.