Against my better judgement, I decided to "google search it" to see whether there was a way around "oven-baked potato strips" which simply wouldn't be as good. I know they're healthier.... and they're nice.... and they're easy... but really. Let's be serious. They're just a disappointing non-fry. Let's call a spade a spade. And I wasn't interested in non-fries. I wanted FRY-FRIES.
I found this recipe on epicurious, which I thought held a lot of promise. Because John's a good sport and I'm a good whiner, I was in charge of making the mussels and he was in charge of making the fries. He still kind of smells like a McDonald's employee this morning :)
Classic French Fries:
The key to success here is twice-frying the french fries. So you do all of them once, and then send everybody back in for a second dip. Another tip, we used our mandolin to slice them, which made for beautiful, uniform, restaurant-looking fries in a flash. (Okay-- John used our mandolin to slice them. I'm scared of our mandolin because I think I'm going to cut off a finger.) The results of this experiment were surprisingly delicious and extremely close to restaurant-esque. On the whole, a success!
For the mussels, I did a winging-it concoction of white wine, saffron, sweet onion, thinly sliced fennel, garlic, a little diced tomato, and store-bought seafood stock, but you can follow your dreams with the mussel broth. Just make sure there is enough liquid to steam the mussels open (5-8 minutes in a covered, simmering pot) and enough liquid to sop it up with crusty french bread or homemade fries!
Below are a couple of recipes to check out, but like I mentioned, I encourage you to edit to your taste preference. One note: Most of these recipes recommend ONE pound of mussels per person. This is a CA-CA-crazy amount of mussels for a single person, man or woman, to eat in one sitting. I bought 2-1/4 lbs. to split between three of us, and we still had six or seven leftover that we literally COULD NOT BRING OURSELVES to eat, we were so full. My advice: Err toward 3/4 lb. per person, depending on your audience.
*Mussels with Cream, Fennel, and White Wine
*Steamed Mussels in White Wine
*Mussels in Saffron and White Wine Broth
I think I took my cues from the last recipe, the mussels in a saffron and white wine broth, but based on name alone, I think you'll be in good hands with any of those recipes. I highly encourage you to track down some french music, light some candles, and have a delicious parisian meal tonight. You won't regret it.