If you're into seafood, then this might be something you like: moules frites (moules marinières with french fries).
* 9 lbs of large fresh mussels (pre-cleaned in vacuum bags or trays)
* 1 lbs of chopped soup vegetables (celery, leeks and carrots in about equal amounts)
* 2 oignons (roughly chopped)
* 1 - 2 cups water (see notes later on)
* 1 spring dried thyme
* 1 bayleaf
* 1/2 bush of parsley
* 2 pressed cloves of garlic (opt.)
* cooking oil
Preparation (9 lbs should take you some 30 mins if they are pre-cleaned)
Rinse the mussels in a coleander under cold running water.
Transfer the mussels to a large bowl (clean! bucket) of fresh cold water. Allow them to climatise for a while.
To clean, first scrape off white "shells" that grow on the mussels (harmless but add an undesired crunchyness when left in place to cook). Then check to see if the mussel is firmly closed. If the shell is not firmly closed, then squeeze the front together and tap the back and inner curve of the shell with the back of your knife. If the mussel closes then it's ok. If it stays open, discard. Discard mussels with broken shells. Then pull out the stringy bit hanging from the inside of the shell (if there is any).
Put the mussels back in the coleander and give another quick rinse.
Heat the oil and add the oignon to sweat without colouring for a few minutes. Then add about 3/4 of the soup vegetables and fry them too for a few minutes. Add the water and other ingredients (except mussels) and let everything boil for a few minutes. When you have a fierce boil in the pot and the vegetables are starting to soften, add the mussels and the remaining vegetables (in that order) and put the lid back on. The mussels take only 4-6 minutes to cook over very high heat. Toss the pot repeatedly while cooking! They're ready when all the shells are well opened.
Serve with french fries (obviously) and a dip of mayo with a few pressed cloves of garlic mixed in.
Also note that mussels are finger food. You eat them by picking out the mussels with an empty mussel shell that you use as you'd use a pair of pliers.
Notes: First of all the amount of liquid is variable. The general idea is to have your veggies submerged but not realy swimming. That way, the mussels will sit on a bed of veggies and be mainly steamed rather than boilt.
Secondly, the kind of cooking liquid you use is a matter of personal taste (and possibly heated debate while having dinner). My personal favourite is to use dry white wine instead of water. Other possibilities include: slightly bitter lager (Stella Artois if it's easily available where you live), 50-50 Noilly Prat (a kind of martini with a lot more herbs and a lot less sugar) and water; water with a few tbspoons of Pastis (a liquour with a strong anis taste, hence only a few tbspoons). For a more pronounced taste fo your flavoured cooking liquid, you can add a splash of it to your mussels just before you take them off the heat.
Thirdly, you can do the cleaning atleast 1-2 hours before dinner. Just proceed as described and when all mussels are cleaned, put them in plenty of cold water and put them in the fridge.