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Creamy Mussels with Sauce Roquefort

[Photograph: Kerry Saretsky]

This recipe is the perfect example of how maximizing a few key ingredients minimizes effort. This is a simple dish that I've had many times (but never enough!) in Normandy, where hungry eaters perch near the water in seaside restaurants and down huge iron pots of tiny mussels in sauces that go from the classic Marinière to cider, to cream, to garlic, to, of course, Roquefort, served with baguette, frites, and dry Norman apple cider.

In France, mussels are usually served as the main course, but I think something with this much attitude makes a killer appetizer. Sauté sweet shallots in olive oil and add some dry white wine for acidity and fresh thyme for woodsy floral warmth. The fresh mussels add their own briny liquor. Then, the perfect balance of pungent, sharp blue Roquefort and sweet, mellow, velvety cream come together to add the ultimate punch to the distinctive broth.

I like to serve this with grilled country bread and a dry apple or pear cider from northern France.

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.

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