Stuffed Mussels

Moules Farcies

Preparation info

  • Servings:


    • Difficulty


Appears in

Simple French Food

By Richard Olney

Published 1974

  • About

Much more rapid than stuffed mussels and also a typically Provençal mussel and spinach preparation (and one which, to the ravishment of the restaurant’s clients, never quits the daily menu at Chez-Hiély in Avignon) consists of stirring together a heavily creamed velouté made of the opening liquid (the basic velouté may be quite thick and relatively salty, the addition of cream attenuating the one and the other), parboiled, squeezed, and chopped spinach tossed rapidly in a bit of olive oil, and the shelled mussels; the mixture is then gratinéed in a hot oven or beneath high heat. Palourdes (which may be replaced by littleneck clams) are also prepared in this way.

When preparing stuffed mussels, the business of tying each mussel up is quite tiresome; those who are tempted not to bother will probably be happy with the results, but the stuffing and the sauce will have intermingled to form a general sameness of texture and taste and the mussels within the shells will have withered. When tied, the effect is very different: The fragile, membranous flesh of mussels opened alive clings, lining the inside wall of each shell half; when packed with the stuffing and tied firmly closed, the flesh has no space in which to shrink at contact with heat and gathers itself instead around the heart of stuffing, enveloping it in a neat sheath; the stuffing retains its own character, which forms a contrast to that of the sauce.