MOULES RAVIGOTE

Some sauces have the perfect name that captures their very essence. Such is the case with France’s ravigote sauce. The perfect summer topping for cooked cool mussels, its name mean to reinvigorate, brighten up.

Julia Child would agree especially on a warm summer day in France's Languedoc-Roussillon region. Known as the "the other south of France" the region gastronomically hosts a Catalonian flair and flavor.

The sauce takes minutes to prepare and matches well a light summer soup or green summer salad.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 pounds fresh mussels
  • 1 large shallot plus 1 or 2 medium shallots
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 or 3 cornichons
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons drained capers
  • Leaves from 1 or 2 sprigs tarragon
  • Leaves from 1 stem flat-leaf parsley
  • 4 to 6 chives
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon-style mustard
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons crème fraîche
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

DIRECTIONS

  1. Place serving plates and a rimmed baking sheet in the refrigerator to chill.
  2. Clean and debeard the mussels.
  3. Tap on any that are chipped, cracked or slightly open. If they do not close, discard them.
  4. Cut the large shallot into chunks.
  5. Mince the medium shallot(s) to yield 1/3 cup (for the sauce).
  6. Combine the shallot chunks and white wine in a large pot over medium-high heat.
  7. Once the wine comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium and add the mussels.
  8. Cover and cook for 2 or 3 minutes, shaking the pot once or twice.
  9. Meanwhile, mince the cornichons, capers (to taste), tarragon, parsley and chives.
  10. Place those ingredients in a medium bowl as you work.
  11. Add the reserved 1/3 cup of minced shallot, along with the mustard and creme fraiche (to taste). Gradually whisk in the oil to form a slightly thickened sauce.
  12. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  13. Use a Chinese skimmer to transfer the steamed mussels to the chilled baking sheet.
  14. Spread them in a single layer to cool.
  15. Discard the cooking liquid and cool enough to handle, discard the empty halves of the shells.
  16. Arrange the shells with mussels attached on the individual chilled plates.
  17. Spoon a little sauce on each mussel.
  18. Serve right away.