Thursday, August 16, 2007

Préparation de la Vie

Anthony Bourdain is the head chef of Brasserie Les Halles in New York City, host of the Travel Channel's "No Reservations", and the author of various popular cookbooks. He is known just as much for his crude humor and outspoken opinions as he is about his food and brilliant technique. His most recent book, The Les Halles Cookbook, is loaded with French bistro-style recipes, beautiful pictures, and witty observations. Check out the recipe below:

Moules Marinière
4 oz/112 g butter
2 shallots, thinly sliced
2 cups dry white wine
salt and pepper to taste
6 lbs mussels, scrubbed and de-bearded (just before cooking)
4 sprigs of parsley, finely chopped

large pot with lid

Bourdain in the KitchenHeat the butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Once melted, add the shallots. Cook for 2 minutes until the shallots are soft and just beginning to brown. Add the wine and bring to a boil (cranking up the heat all the way). Season with salt and pepper.

Dump the mussels into the pot, and slap on the cover. Cook just until all the mussels are open all the way (about 10 minutes, no more). Shake the pot, keeping the lid firmly pressed on top, then add the parsley and shake again. (You can toss in an additional knob of whole softened butter at this point, swirling it into the sauce for a nice emulsified, enriching boost) Pour the whole glorious mess into a warm serving bowl and serve.

Some nice country bread is a nice thing to have on the table, for you and your guests to tear at and mop sauce.

"Vegetarians, and their Hezbollah-like splinter faction, the vegans, are a persistent irritant to any chef worth a damn. To me, life without veal stock, pork fat, sausage, organ meat, demiglace, or even stinky cheese is a life not worth living."

"Meals make the society, hold the fabric together in lots of ways that were charming and interesting and intoxicating to me. The perfect meal, or the best meals, occur in a context that frequently has very little to do with the food itself."