It is freezing cold !!!! “Un froid de canard” (duck cold) in French….I had never seen the strict connection between cold and ducks…”Ducks also swim in ponds in warm climates”, I thought, but I decided to ask my French friend Y, and she told me it is because the hunting season for ducks is at the end of fall, beginning of winter, and so hunters must stay immobile, waiting for their prey, and they freeze!!!…well, whatever the reason …. nothing better than soup to warm us (and the hunters) up !!
I love fish soup….this is something I discovered in France…(Argentinians, being the biggest carnivores in the world, are not very fond of fish)….and then, one picture in particular came to my mind…a creamy mussels soup I had seen in a book by Alain Ducasse and Sophie Dudemaine, so I decided to make it and share it with you !
But some people might wonder, who are they? Alain Ducasse is one of the big names of French gastronomy, only chef to have gained three Michelin Stars for three restaurants at the same time, he is now at the head of a gastronomic empire. He manages (among others) the Jules Verne, the restaurant on top of the Eiffel Tower, and he has an “école de cuisine” (cooking school). I took a course there in 2008.
Sophie Dudemaine is a TV cook, author of many culinary books. Her cooking style is simple: cakes, pies, soups…home-made cooking. But she got together with Ducasse, for a book where she “translates” the otherwise complicated recipes of a “grand” chef, into something feasible for ordinary people: La cuisine de Ducasse par Sophie, from that book, this recipe.
For this Mussels Cream Soup, you will need:
* mussels, 3 litres (2 kilos)
* dry white wine, 1 litre
* shallots, 2
* onion, 1
* tomato concentrate, 2 coffeespoons
* fish stock, 80 gr.
* cornflour, 8 gr.
* saffron threads, 1 pinch
* cream, 1 cup.
* a garnished bouquet: some thyme, 2 bay leaves, some thin orange peel
Scrape the mussels in cold water, clean them. Slice the shallots and the onion. Put the mussels in a saucepan together with the wine, the onion and shallots, and the “garnished bouquet”. Bring it to a boil. Sift the mussels, keeping the liquid. Get rid of those mussels that did not open. Separate the body from the shell. Keep 250 gr of mussels for the soup, put the others in a bowl with a bit of the cooking stock. Strain the cooking stock with a chinois sieve, pour in the same saucepan together with the fish stock (that you can make yourself, using this recipe, or buy). Bring to a boil, reduce to the half. Fold in the tomato concentrate and the cornflour, whisking. Cook for 5′. Fold in the cream and the saffron. Simmer for another 5′.
Put the 250 gr of mussels with a bit of the cream in a food processor. Mix. Fold with the rest of the cream. Add some freshly ground pepper. Decorate with the rest of the mussels.
I would have this soup with some white wine, “frappé”, kept very cold in the fridge, or in this
zinc pot, originally used for washing clothes….I bought this in a “brocante” (garage sale) in the south of France…why? Kitchens are very small in Parisian apartments, and refrigerators are even smaller! so everytime I have people over, either, I keep food in the fridge, or I keep bottles in the fridge, but both options are not possible….
Solution? I put some water and ice in my lovely antique zinc pot….Small detail ? all the water froze !!! luckily the bottles were not inside…
I hope you enjoy the soup !!!!
PS: Thanks to my guest photographer, my daughter C, who couldn’t resist the temptation of a close-up to these cabbages….!!!!!!