Mouclade and mussel eclair: two essential culinary traditions in Charente-Maritime

La Rochelle
Share Mouclade and mussel eclair: two essential culinary traditions in Charente-Maritime
Mouclade and mussel e ...

With the end of autumn and the winter just around the corner, there's nothing like having fun with authentic, gourmet food that warms your heart and body. In Charente-Maritime, it's the perfect season to taste the mussels , big stars of the Charente cuisine ! To vary from traditional mussels and cream mussels, two typical dishes of the region will delight your taste buds during your next stay on the Charente coast. Not to be missed !

The Moules charantaises

Mussels, a specialty of the Charente coast

Charantaise mussels

The Charentaise mouclade, a dish that simmers in the kitchen!

Not easy to find the right places to savor the famous Charentaise mouclade! While most restaurants on the Charente coast offer classic curry mussels , my search for one of the best recipes of the mouclade inevitably brings me to Bar André on the old port of La Rochelle !

André's bar

The André bar

The André Bar, one of the best tables to feast on fish and seafood


The André Bar , an institution in La Rochelle!

Created at the beginning of the 20th century by André Bourcereau in a fishing district, facing the fish market, the restaurant of Rue St Jean du Pérot is taken over by Georges Bourdin in 1947 . With a few friends, he buys the establishment and offers a very simple cuisine based on shellfish and fresh fish directly landed fishing boats. The success is immediate and the restaurant continues to grow to meet the demand of gourmets and lovers of flavors of the sea. In 1981, the son of Georges Bourdin, Jacques, takes over after being trained at Lasserre in Paris and develops the unique style of the restaurant that we discover today: a landmark of warm fishermen with the air of a great Parisian brasserie . Managed since 2016 by the Bertrand Group, the historical heritage and authentic culinary heritage of Bar André are preserved and remain intact until today.


The famous Bar André mouclade by chef Daniel Barret

Mouclade Bar andré

Daniel, the chef of the André Bar in preparation for mouclade


To discover the recipe of the mouclade , go to the kitchen. I have the pleasure of meeting the chef, Daniel and his second Pascal , who has 34 years of service at Bar André ! No way to reveal the secrets of a dish as fragrant and generous in taste, proposed on the menu for 60 years. However, I am invited to accompany them to follow the preparation of the mouclade in the greatest respect of the tradition of Charente.

To achieve a mellow, the quality and freshness of mussels is paramount. The choice of Bar André? The fleshy bouchot mussels "La Charron" coming directly from the bay of Aiguillon , very close to La Rochelle, are invited from the sea to the plate. The personal touch of the chef? A clever mix of spices - old-fashioned curry, turmeric, saffron spigol - whose proportions remain mysterious . These exotic spices seem nothing charentees and yet ... they constitute a historical culinary heritage of the port of La Rochelle, brought back by the sailors and the traders who used to disembark boats to the return of maritime expeditions.

mouclade

The spices of the mouclade

In the presence of the chef, I discover the stages of the preparation of this mouclade to the delicious flavors of iodine and fragrance which my taste buds will remember for a long time. Here is exclusive recipe of the muddle of the Bar André that confides to me Daniel!


Ingredients for 4 persons)

  • 2.5 kg Bouchot mussels
  • 200g shallots
  • 2 twigs of Thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1L of white wine from Pays Charentais
  • 6 cl of Pineau des Charentes
  • 60g of fresh garlic
  • 60cl of liquid cream
  • 80g of sweet butter
  • Curry
  • Turmeric
  • spigol

PREPARATION

  • Sort and wash the mussels by scraping the small shells on the shell
  • Prepare the marinière:
    • Sweat the shallots and garlic in soft butter
    • Deglaze with Charentais white wine
    • Add thyme and bay leaf
    • Cook on low heat for 10 minutes
    • Add the mussels at the end of cooking and open them quickly by covering them
  • Shell the mussels by removing one shell out of two, set and trim

mouclade

The cream of the mouclade

  • Reduce the cooking juices, then cream.
  • Add the spices and cook over low heat until a "tablecloth" cooking (dip a spoon in the sauce, make a line with the finger on the back of the spoon, it is necessary that the trace is net)
  • Add the Pineau, butter, correct the seasoning and switch to fine Chinese
  • Cover the mussels with the boiling sauce

The mouclade is finally ready to be tasted in the superb decor of the Bar André , inspired by the sea and the fishermen. Accompanied by homemade fries , it is a real explosion of flavors in the mouth and especially a friendly moment to share! A real treat !

mouclade

mouclade

Mouclade Charentaise

A true moment of pleasure !

Spices with mouclade

Different mixtures of mouclade spices can be found on the Charentais markets

L'éclade of mussels: Charente terroir in all simplicity!

Here is another typical Charentaise way to savor these delicious little seashells. The mussel lettuce (also pronounced églade) comes from the word "éguiade" which means in old patois "aiguillade" by the pine needles which constitute the base of this ancestral recipe.

mussel clam

Cooking firewood


A culinary heritage that is transmitted from generation to generation

To discover this popular Charentaise tradition and the recipe made only from mussels and pine needles maritime, I head for the Ile de Ré.

Few restaurants today offer this typical dish on the menu, yet prepared for centuries by fishermen Charente. Originally, this dish was the rustic snack of peasants and shellfish farmers who found themselves in the heart of marshes . The mussels were then arranged in a circle, on the ground, which they covered with pine needles before setting them on fire. It is from here that comes the other name given by the elders to the éclade: "la terrée".

With Chez Marie at the Lighthouse of the Whales (in summer only), the restaurant Ailes de Ré au Bois-Plage is the only one of the island to offer mussels. To respect the seasonality of the shellfish, the lard is savored here exclusively between the months of March and mid-December.

Preparation eclade of mussels


Preparation eclade

Preparing the eclectic, nothing more simple!

On site, in the intimate and maritime decor of the Ailes de Ré , I meet the owners, Julien and Ludivine Enet at the corner of the fireplace of the restaurant to discover this recipe of mussels smoked over a wood fire .

In the chimney, the mussels are cooked on a carpet of pine needles and covered with a pan. This simple preparation perfumes the molds of the flavors of the pine forest. At the restaurant Ailes de Ré, according to the recipe of Julien's grandparents , the chef adds a raspberry vinegar fillet at the end of cooking. Accompanied by the intoxicating aroma of the fireplace, a portion of homemade fries , bread, salted butter from the Charentes, and of course a glass of white wine from the Charente country, these smoked mussels are a real delight ! Nothing like warming up and sharing authentic moments with family or friends during long autumn evenings ...


Did you like our story? Find in others on the Blog According to my Desires Guide Charente Maritime. Find us also on the Facebook page of the Charente Maritime Guide and on Instagram @guidecharentemaritime


Article written by Lesley Williamson for the Guide Charente Maritime

 


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