Darren McGavin's Moules et Citron
4 dozen steamed mussels
1 stick sweet butter
1 small clove garlic, pressed
1 lemon cut in thin slices
Remove raw mussels from shells with sharp knife, rinse well (or steam lightly according to directions in next recipe). Discard shells. Heat butter over medium heat being careful not to burn it. Add mussels, pressed garlic and lemon slices. Sprinkle lightly with vinegar. Heat quickly. Serve at once with good chilled wine (Meursault or Pinot Chardoney). Serves 4.
Darren McGavin's Moules Marniere
4 dozen fresh mussels
3 shallots (or small white onion), minced
3 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
2 sprigs of parsley, chopped
1 small bay leaf, crumbled
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon salt
A few gratings of freshly ground pepper
Select large mussels that are closed. Before steaming, the mussels must be carefully cleaned. Scrub each shell with small wire brush removing all traces of mud, seaweed and barnacles. Discard any mussels with cracked, broken or opened shells. Remove "beard" (tuft of hair attached to shell) with small knife; rinse well under running water.
Bathe mussels by placing in deep vessels (or pail) covered with cold water several hours. Change water at least once. Discard any that float. Drain, rinse well under running water, place in colander.
Saute shallots (or onion) lightly in butter. Add wine, bouquet garni (parsley, bay leaf and thyme), salt and pepper. Simmer gently several minutes. Place mussels in simmering stock; cover tightly; steam 3 minutes (or until shells open). Remove shells, reserve broth. Remove top shell from mussel. Keep in warm place.
Strain broth, reduce by cooking over medium heat to half its original volume. Pour sauce into small deep bowl, place in center of platter. Arrange mussels around bowl. Garnish with cut parsley. Spear mussels with small forks and "dunk" in sauce. Consume as appetizer with very dry martini. Serves 4.
Thoughts: Thorough cleaning is essential but requires muscle. To speed up the task, soak mussels in solution of dry mustard and cold water (1 tablespoon mustard to 1 quart water) to help loosen the encrustation. Clean shells in advance, let bathe in cold water, refrigerate until time to use (use within 24 hours from time of purchase).
For flavor changes, vary herb used in the broth by using fresh dill weed, chervil or steam the mussels in a saffron-scented lemon broth.
Darren McGavin's Oeufs au Beurre Noir
4 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon tarragon (or wine) vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat butter in flat pan until brown, but do not let it burn. Break eggs in pan and fry until whites are solidified. Remove eggs to heated dish. Add vinegar to the butter, stir a moment and pour over the eggs quickly. Serve at once with fried toast. Serves 2.
Thoughts: Prepare poached eggs in black butter as follows: Poach eggs in vinegar-flavored water solution. Place eggs in bed of cooked petit pois. Prepare sauce by cooking butter until "black." Add a few tablespoons each dry white wine (or tarragon vinegar) and capers. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.