Mouclade is a famous French dish from La Rochelle in which mussels are cooked with a cream sauce with curry. This recipe is adapted from How to Eat a Peach by Diana Henry.
Put saffron in a cup and add ¼ cup of boiling water. Let it steep for 30 minutes.
Clean the mussels with several washes of very cold water, removing any beards and barnacles.
Tap each mussel against the sink as you clean and discard any that remain open and don’t close.
Over medium heat, melt the butter and gently saute the shallot until soft, for about 5 minutes.
Add the garlic and curry powder and cook for another 2 minutes to release the curry’s fragrance.
Add the brandy and let it boil until it has reduced to a couple of tablespoons.
Reduce the heat and stir in the flour, mixing well until everything is smooth.
Take the pan off the heat and gradually add the saffron and its water while stirring. Set aside.
In a separate large saucepan, place the wine and mussels and cover the lid. Cook the mussels over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally until the mussels have opened.
Strain the mussels over a large strainer and collect their juice in a bowl. Discard any mussels that didn’t open and put the rest back in the saucepan and cover to keep warm.
Strain the mussel juice through a sieve lined with muslin to get rid of any sand or grit.
Reheat the saffron sauce over medium heat. Add the mussel juice and stir to combine.
Bring the sauce to a boil and simmer for about 5 minutes. Add the cream and simmer for another 5 minutes until it has reduced and the sauce is a little thick.
Season with sugar, salt, and freshly ground pepper. Stir in the parsley.
Put the mussels in a large serving bowl, pour over the sauce, and serve immediately with a fresh loaf of baguette.