Moules frites are easily one of my favorite things to order at a seafood restaurant. If you eat a dish like this outdoors in the summertime, ideally with your feet in the sand or resting gently on the grass, you will remember it forever. Don’t be afraid to work with mussels—they take a little while to clean, but they cook in minutes and are very inexpensive.
by Dan Whalen
1 Preheat the oven to 450°F.
2 Place the tots on a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil, and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Toss the tots gently to coat them evenly with the oil, then spread them out in an even layer. Bake, carefully flipping the tots halfway through the cooking, until crispy and browned, about 20 minutes.
3 Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the chorizo and cook, stirring occasionally, until it has rendered a lot of its fat and is starting to crisp up, about 5 minutes. Add the chopped celery and shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have softened, about 3 minutes.
4 Add the mussels and banana pepper rings and stir. Add the beer, bring it to a simmer, and cook until all of the mussels have opened, 3 to 5 minutes. (Discard any mussels that remain closed.)
5 Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the celery leaves, parsley, and lemon juice. Pour into a large, shallow bowl or a platter.
6 Serve immediately with the tots on the side to dip into all that delicious broth or, if you have a big enough bowl, dump the tots right on top of the mussels and dig in!
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Excerpted from Tots! 50 Tot-ally Awesome Recipes from Totchos to Sweet Po-tot-o Pie by Dan Whalen (Workman Publishing). Copyright © 2018. Photographs by Matthew Benson.