A bivalve mollusk of the order Mytilus, usually from the family Mytilidae, known by the common name mussels or mussel. Its shell is hinged and it has a long siphon. A muscle-like foot is attached to the base of the shell to anchor it. It is eaten fresh or cooked in a variety of ways.
In Belgium and France mussels are generally served with French fries (moules frites). Mussels are also commonly steamed with herbs and flavourful vegetables, such as onions, leeks, celery, parsley, garlic, or thyme. They can be also cooked with a white wine broth or a sauce made with beer (moules à la biere).
The most traditional and classic way to enjoy mussels is moules mariniere, simply steamed in a simple broth of white wine with onions, parsley, and/or thyme. Some recipes add a little cream to the broth for a smoother consistency. Some dishes may also include a small amount of lemon juice or dry vermouth. Other popular mussel recipes are moules à la crème, which is a velouté-like dish; moules à la crème au choux, with choux pastry; and moules bouillon, with stock made from chicken, beef or fish.
In a survey conducted by the TNS Sofres company, mussels with fries ranked second as the favorite food of the Belgians and the French behind magret de canard. The dish is very popular in the United Kingdom as well, where it is referred to as moules-frites.