Thursday 10 May 2007

Recipe: Tartes aux Moules

This is my version of a Pomiane classic, from the man himself. I always make it as a starter a day or two after we've had Moules Marinieres, using leftover cooked mussels and the ladleful or so of marinieres cooking liquid that is always left.

For Two.

Ingredients: Approximately twenty cooked Mussels in their cooking liquid*; 2 sheets Phyllo Pastry, approx. 12" x 6"; 1 oz Butter; 1 Egg; 1 tablespoon plain Flour; 2 tablespoons Cream; 1 tablespoon chopped Parsley.

* If you don't have them leftover from an earlier recipe, then cook them as follows: combine 1 wineglass of vermouth, 1 large minced garlic clove, 2 oz Butter, two or three sprigs of Parsley and a generous grinding of pepper. Heat these ingredients first for three or four minutes, to melt the butter and boil off the alcohol, then add the mussels and cook over high heat, with the lid on the pan, for eleven minutes; the Mussels are cooked when the shells are open, the mussels have turned a deep orange, and the strong cooking odour has dissipated.)


1. Pre-heat the oven to 200 degree C. Shell the Mussels.

2. Melt the butter, and use it to brush the sheets of Phyllo Pastry. Cut each sheet into two, and use these to make a double layer tart shell in each of two greased false-bottomed individual flan tins. Using baking weights, blind bake the shells for five minutes with the weights in, and then remove the weights and continue cooking until the shell bases are nicely browned. Remove from the oven.

3. Beat the Egg in a bowl; add the ladleful of cooking liquid from the Mussels, and the Cream; whisk energetically, and then add the Flour and incorporate this thoroughly.

4. Divide the Mussels between the tart shells, arranging them evenly within the shells. Carefully pour the Cream mixture into each tart shell, filling them as high as you can, and almost covering the Mussels.

5. Return the filled tart shells to the oven. After about five minutes, the cream will show signs of solidifying, and in another five minutes it will begin to rise. Total cooking time is about fifteen minutes, by which time the tarts will have puffed dramatically, and the tops should be nicely browned. Avoid the temptation to take them out too early, before the browning process has happened.

Serve warm, sprinkled with chopped Parsley.

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