Mussels and French fries (Moules-frites) is a popular main dish originating in Belgium. Also very popular in Normandie. The serving size from some restaurant can be a large as 4 lb./1.8kg!.. When purchasing mussels, make sure they are kept over and under ice, and their shells are glistening with moisture. Dry shells on the outside are a good indication of dead or dying mussels on the inside. The tag should be attached to the mesh bag, or you can ask for it at the seafood counter if they are display loose. Mussels should smell like the ocean, fresh and salty. *Pernod belongs to the family of spirits whose flavor is dominated by the aroma of anise; it pairs so well with seafood. Pernod can be substituted for a non-acidic white wine such as Sauvignon blanc or Pinot blanc.
To clean mussels, scrub or scrape using a paring knife. Remove beard by going side to side pulling it. Soak mussels in cold water with a few ice cubes for at least an hour.
In a large pot or dutch oven, melt butter and sweat shallots and thyme for 5 min on medium low heat; cook with no coloration. Add garlic and season with some ground black pepper and cook until fragrant for less than a minute. Deglaze with Pernod or white wine and clam juice. Reduce stock to two-third. Meanwhile, drain mussels well and set aside. Add mussels to the hot pot, cover and cook for 5 minutes; shaking them up every so often. Transfer cooked mussels in a large bowl. Discard any unopened mussels. Throw half of the chopped parsley in the juice. Arrange mussels in a shallow dish if desired and pour hot juice over or under. mussels. Garnish with remaining parsley. Enjoy!