Bouchon in Vegas back in February - his were so decadent and well-presented, the ultimate feast!
Finally, the stars aligned for me to "muscle up" and make some on my own. While flipping through this month's Family Circle, they had a recipe for Mussels and Fries in their budget section - mussels are affordable? Who knew! So I walked down to Whole Foods Market, and low and behold, mussels were on sale! I bought some on the spot and made some for Luke the next day for a welcome home lunch. He approved. Here's my variation on FC's dish:
Mussels and Fries
2 pounds baking potatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon lemon thyme sprigs
1 ounce Parmigiano Reggiano, freshly grated
6 leaves basil, freshly chopped
2 pounds mussels
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup white wine
Heat oven to 450 degrees . Place mussels in a large bowl of lightly salted cold water. Set aside.
Peel potatoes and, using a mandoline (a birthday present from Luke!), slice into 1/2 inch thick fries (alternatively, cut by hand). Toss with olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Scatter in a single layer on a baking sheet along with 1/2 of the thyme, still on the sprigs, and bake at 450 degrees for 17 minutes. Using a metal spatula (not tongs, I did and I broke a few!) flip potatoes and bake 15 more minutes or until they are browned. Remove from oven; toss with additional salt to taste. When ready to serve, sprinkle with Parmigiano Reggiano and basil.
Meanwhile, debeard mussels by pulling off the seaweed-like string between the shells. Discard any open mussels. (If open, tap on the counter; if shell closes, you can keep it.) Place mussels in a new bowl.
Melt butter in a large, lidded pot over medium heat (I used my medium-sized cast iron dutch oven). Stir in red onion and saute 3 minutes. Stir in garlic and saute another 1 to 2 minutes. Add wine, remaining thyme and salt to taste; bring to a simmer. Add mussels, cover and cook 6 to 8 minutes, or until shells have opened and mussels are cooked through. Discard any mussels that did not open.
Serve fries alongside mussels and cooking liquid.