Serious Eats: Recipes

French in a Flash: Provençal Mussels and Clams Over Shells

[Photographs: Kerry Saretsky]

It seems to me that French food gets a really bad reputation around New Year's. And, I'll admit, where there's smoke there's fire—I do keep at least one pint of heavy cream in my fridge at all times and cannot imagine that life would be worth living without it. Or butter. Or brie. Or Roquefort. No! It's too horrible to consider.

But let's not be so provincial, when we should be being Provençal. While some of the classic comforts of northern France may be contrary to some New Year's resolutions, the food of Provence, in the south, is our own personal French diet cookbook full of vegetables, tomatoes, herbs, olive oil, and seafood.

One classic dish is Moules à la Provençal: mussels in tomato sauce with fresh garlic and herbs. I love the sweetness and variety that clams add to the dish. To make it a meal I add pasta shells (shells with shells; it's kitschy, but I love it anyway), although you could just as easily serve this with crusty, warm bread. You could also add calamari, bay scallops, and shrimp instead of carbs to bulk up the pot. This dish is healthy, bright, delicious, and sunny—the perfect way to start the new year off on the right pied without making any sacrifices.

About the author: Kerry Saretsky is the creator of French Revolution Food, where she reinvents her family's classic French recipes in a fresh, chic, modern way. She also writes the The Secret Ingredient series for Serious Eats.

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