Episode 116: Shell-ebration 
Recipe: Mussels Poulette and Gratinee (Mussels in Cream Sauce)
This dish was on the menu of my aunt’s restaurant when I was a kid. Rich and flavorful, it was always a winner with her patrons.
5 pounds mussels, cleaned and debearded
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped onions
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
1/4 cup small fresh parsley sprigs, chopped
2 fresh thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/3 cup heavy cream
Combine the mussels, onions, garlic, half the parsley, the thyme, bay leaf, pepper, and wine in a large stainless steel pot, cover tightly, and cook over high heat, tossing occasionally, for 5 to 8 minutes, or until the mussels have opened; discard any that do not open.
Lift the mussels from the broth. Pull the shells apart, keeping only the shells containing mussels, and put them in a deep earthenware casserole or tureen. Keep warm on the side of the stove or in a 140-degree oven.
Strain the broth into a clean stainless steel saucepan, leaving any sand behind. Work the butter into the flour to make a beurre manié and add to the broth, whipping constantly with a whisk until smooth. Bring to a boil, whisking, then reduce the heat and cook for 1 minute. Add the cream and bring to a boil.
Pour the cream mixture over the warm mussels, and sprinkle with the remaining parsley, and serve.
Copyright © 2011 by Jacques Pépin. Used by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.