A gratin parmi tant d’autres – Gratin de moules et poireaux au curry

This is probably my last post before I fly to France, next week. I have to fly for family reasons and looking forward to it. June in France is my favorite month, the days are long and it’s still light until 10 pm. Since my mom will be in the hospital, I will have to cook for my father and I am trying to find some exciting recipes for him to enjoy. I think this one will be one among others. The difference is that I will be using “Moules de Bouchot” instead of American mussels.

In France, moules de bouchot are grown in Brittany and Normandy, they’re considered to be the best of all mussels. They’re small but with a very flavorful and delicate meat. These mussels are grown in on a wooden pole in the ocean and in a way to keep predators away. If you speak French here is some interesting information on how they are farmed.

The mussels I used were bigger than moules de bouchot nonetheless very tasty. Leeks and fish or seafood are wonderful combined together, so in this recipe it’s all enhanced by a spicy curry sauce. The curry flavor is not too strong since it’s infused with the cream and gives this gratin a little exotic touch without empowering it.

The world of gratin is infinite, so you could of course, substitute mussels with white fish or even scallops, it’s all up to your imagination and to your taste buds.

Ingredients for 2

  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 2 leeks, chopped
  • about 20 mussels (depending on the size)
  • 1 tbs mild curry powder
  • 4 tbs heavy cream
  • salt and pepper

For the topping

  • 5 tbs panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tbs parsley, chopped
  • 1 tbs cilantro, chopped
  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • chili powder (to taste)
  • salt and pepper


Steam mussels in a large pot, when they open, remove from shell and keep the juice. Remove the mussel meat from the shells and set aside.

Prepare topping mixing all ingredients together in a mixing container.

Heat olive oil in a pan, add shallot and let it sweat, add the leeks, salt and pepper and let ccok for about 10 minutes on medium heat. Add mussel juice and let reduce. Add curry powder, mix well, then add mussels and cream. Let the cream reduce slightly then divide in two recipients.

Add one layer of the topping. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 375F for about 20 minutes, until the crust turns golden.

Serve hot with a mâche salad.