Moules-frites or mosslen friet is a genre of a popular Belgian dish which consists of French fries and mussels. This dish is popularly served in North of France and Belgium. The name of the dish is derived from two words Moules meaning mussles and Frites meaning fries. This is mostly served as a comfort food in Belgium and its richness is accentuated with the addition of mayonnaise.
Mosslen friet is enjoyed in other parts of Europe too and there have been disputes regarding the exact origins of the dish.
History of Moules Frites
Today many food experts are of the opinion that the dish has actually originated in Belgium because the Begians were the first to team the mussles with French fries. The famous Flemish manuscript of 1781 also depicts that something similar to French fries were cooked in most of the Belgian homes during the winters when no fish was available. This also quashes the claim by French that they were the first ones to make the French fries. As mussles were already the staple in many of the Belgian homes of the era, slowly they started getting paired with French fries at the country's famous fry shops known as friteries. The popularity of Moules Frites and number of these friteries increased after the World War I. Today these friteries are replaced by restaurants and bistros. The dish is today considered as one of the popular socializing dishes of Belgium and it is shared amongst group of diners who share pots of cooked mussles and bowls of fries.
Moules Frites Recipe: Ingredients and Method of Preparation
Moules Frites are more than just a regular comfort food for most of the Belgians and over the years they have learned to present it in all possible flavors. Many variations of this dish are served throughout Belgium with same interest and fervor. Some of the popular variants of the dish include Moules Nature (mussles are cooked with aromatic herbs like leeks, herbs and butter), Moules Au Vin Blanc (mussles cooked in white wine), Moules a’ l’lail (mussles served with minced and sliced garlic), and Moules le’crème’ (mussles steamed in white wine and enriched with fresh cream). At times the mussles are also infused with steaming liquids with flavors derived from smoky chile ( pernod liquor, piment d’Espelette) and Belgian beer.
Moules : Fresh mussles (shiny and black), shallot, spring onion, carrot, red chili, garlic cloves, thyme, parsley, dry white wine, crème fraiche, olive oil, and pernod are required to prepare Moules. The mussles are cleaned and kept aside. The vegetables are tossed into the pan with olive oil and cooked with mussles and other ingredients.
The fresh mussles can be identified with their weight. The mussles which are lighter or hollower than their weight should be discarded and it is always better to choose small mussles for the dish preparation because they have soft texture and sweet flavor.
- French Fries: They are prepared with large potatoes, cayenne pepper, olive oil and flour. The chips are fried beside moules preparation.
- Mayonnaise: Egg yolks, olive oil, mustard powder and white wine vinegar are required to prepare the mayonnaise. The ingredients are added to the blender and the cheese is then blended to golden emulsion, and chilled before serving.
The Moules friets can also be teamed with other sauces.