Skip to content

Cilantro Lime Moules Frites

November 29, 2012

Cilantro Lime Moules Frites

Whoa. Somehow this happened: I’ve reached my 100th post!

I have a hard time believing it; I still feel like a food blog newbie.

Constantly torn between spending time creating this blog (fun) and my dissertation (real life), it seems I can never devote quite enough time for either one to really make something of itself… but here’s my little blog– almost a year and a half old, and already boasting 100 Allison-approved recipes.

Easy Baked Oven Fries

(Well three posts were guest recipes, and 11 were food photos from traveling, but I’m guessing there’s still around 100 recipes in total, considering some of the posts are a 2-for-1 like this one!)

Despite the typical stresses of (carpal tunnel and) time constraints, the feedback I’ve gotten on this blog has been tremendous and energizing.

Cilantro Lime Moules Frites

Maybe I just happen to find myself in the rare circle of friends that has only one food blogger (although of course I can think of a few specific friends who would make excellent food bloggers themselves– you know who you are!), because I’ve started to notice that wherever I go, people talk to me about food.

They want to tell me what they’re cooking, or ask me what I’m cooking, or talk recipe talk. And I like it.

Cilantro Lime Moules Frites

(Don’t get me wrong, this probably happened before I started the blog too… Wild guess: 80% of my conversations result in me nerding out over either language-learning or edibles.)

I appreciate these interactions; they’ve been a motivating force in keeping this blog alive and cared for. I’m also grateful to everyone who reads my blog– whether you comment all the time, or just swing by to look at the photos (in which case, I guess you’re not even reading this!). It’s gratifying to see my recipes shared all over Facebook, or– better still– to hear that one of you cooked something I’ve posted. When you can’t share food with everyone from afar, the next best thing to share is a recipe, right?

Cilantro Lime Moules Frites

I thought a Belgian fries and mussels throwback to the amazing dinner prepared for us by friends in Antwerp last summer would be a nice celebratory recipe for my 100th post.

Also, don’t laugh: the real impetus for this dinner was an imminently expiring Groupon for a seafood market. The timing just worked out nicely that way.

Cilantro Lime Moules Frites

I’ve lived in Santa Barbara over five years now, and have purchased and cooked with fresh shellfish only a handful of times. This steamed mussel feast reminded me how lucky I am to have easy access to local, sustainable seafood. I should take advantage of that a little more often, while I’m still living here.

It also reminded me that mussels are incredibly simple (and speedy!) to prepare. The easy Oven Fries took longer to cook than the mussels did. Cilantro, lime, and beer made for a lovely flavor combination, and resulted in a rich, tasty broth, perfect for slurping up with mussel shells or sopping up with bread. We didn’t even bother with a Belgian-inspired dipping sauce for the mussels (just one for the fries).

Cilantro Lime Moules Frites

Print both recipes (Mussels and Fries).
Print recipe for Steamed Mussels only.


Steamed Mussels with Cilantro and Lime

(Serves 2)

~ 2½ pounds mussels
~ 2-3 Tbsp. butter (I used frozen cubes of my homemade chive butter)
~ ⅓ onion, diced
~ 2 cloves garlic, minced
~ 1 bottle of beer
~ salt and pepper to taste
~ small handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
~ fresh lime juice to taste
(or use the more traditional white wine, parsley, & lemon combination, instead of beer, cilantro, & lime)

How to make it:

1. Rinse and scrub the mussels well, and de-beard the mussels. You should only use the mussels that remain tightly closed. If any of them pop open a bit, try giving them a few firm taps on your countertop then wait a minute and see if they close up; discard any that remain open after that.

Cilantro Lime Moules FritesMelting Chive Butter for Cilantro Lime Moules Frites

2. In a large stockpot with a lid, melt the butter then saute the onions over medium heat until soft (5-10 minutes). Add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds.

3. Then add the mussels, and pour in the beer. Give it a good stir, then place the lid on the pot and lower the heat a bit. Steam the mussels until they’ve opened up (3-5 minutes). Then season with salt, pepper, and fresh cilantro.

Making Cilantro Lime Moule FritesMaking Cilantro Lime Moule Frites

4. Serve immediately with lime wedges (and fries!).

Print this recipe (Steamed Mussels only)!
Print both recipes (Mussels and Fries)!
Print recipe for Oven Fries only.

Cilantro Lime Moule Frites

Easy Crisp Oven Fries

(Serves 2)

~ 1 large russet potato
~ olive oil
~ freshly ground sea salt and pepper

How to make it:

1. Peel (or not) and slice the potato into long, ¼-½”-thick sticks. Soak the sliced fries in a bowl of cold water for 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile, pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees.

2. Drain the sliced potatoes and toss them in a glug or two of olive oil. Arrange them in a large cast iron pan, spread as far apart from each other as possible. Sprinkle them with a few twists of sea salt and black pepper.

Easy Baked Oven FriesEasy Baked Oven Fries

3. Bake the fries for about 1 hour, reaching in with a spatula to stir and turn them every 10-15 minutes.

4. Serve warm with homemade mayonnaise for a dipping sauce.

Print this recipe (Oven Fries only)!
Print both recipes (Mussels and Fries)!

Cilantro Lime Moule Frites

Related posts:
> Travel Photos: Fries and Mussels in Belgium
> Homemade Mayonnaise and Garlic Aioli / Alioli
> Turkey Lentil Soup with Kale

42 Comments leave one →
  1. November 29, 2012 8:43 am

    Congratulations on reaching 100!
    – Sara from

  2. November 29, 2012 9:11 am

    Congrats on your 100th post. The balance between life and blogging is a struggle. I went from blogging every other day to only blogging once or twice a week now. For two reasons. One being I’m on a budget and two being I’m dieting. I think finding the balance is when you are happy with what you put out. It’s a meaningful post instead of putting something out there because you are on a schedule and you can’t go one day without posting. I appreciate your writing and so happy I can connect with about the Korean culture and food. Keep on writing girl. I am a huge fan.

    • December 1, 2012 1:05 pm

      Thank you, Sarah! It’s so encouraging to interact with other bloggers like you who I admire so much. I agree that I’d rather share a post I’m happy with than just post whatever to stick to a schedule, so I may need to end up cutting back on even my twice-a-week schedule as things progress with my dissertation… we’ll see. But it’s been working alright so far. :)

  3. November 29, 2012 9:23 am

    Congrats on moving past the 100 post mark! It’s totally inspiring :) The mussels look delicious in the pictures. I was at a French restaurant earlier this week and ate mussels and they were to die for. I’ve always been deterred from trying to make them because it seems for foreign to me, but it actually sounds totally do-able. Thanks for sharing!

    • December 1, 2012 1:08 pm

      Thanks! It’s really do-able to make them. The main challenging or unusual part of having a meal of fresh mussels at home is finding the time to shop for them in the first place! (Ideally within just a few hours before dinner– and then you can open the plastic bag or whatever so they can breathe, and keep them in the fridge with a damp cloth over them so that they stay cold.) It’s really easy after that!

  4. November 29, 2012 9:53 am

    Congrats Allison on your 100th post! This dish looks absolutely scrumptious!

  5. November 29, 2012 10:57 am

    Do you think I could get away with using frozen mussels? Only because I bought some on impulse on sale that were frozen and now I don’t know what to do with them.

    • December 1, 2012 1:10 pm

      Good question! I’m guessing it would work the same way and that you’d throw them straight in the pot– without defrosting them first– and they would just take a few extra minutes to steam open, but I really don’t know for sure! If I were you, I would just call up a local seafood market/store and ask for their advice over the phone. :)

  6. November 29, 2012 11:07 am

    Congrats on your 100th post. I’m slowly making my way to that milestone, too. :)

    • December 1, 2012 1:11 pm

      Thanks! It really is crazy to think about how many hours have gone into creating (almost/)100 entire posts, isn’t it!? But it’s been enjoyable all along, so that’s what matters. :)

  7. November 29, 2012 12:30 pm

    Congrats…and this looks great. We make mussels all the time, but not with lime/cilantro/beer- will give this a try…

    • December 1, 2012 1:14 pm

      Thanks! I meant to mention somewhere in the post that I’d had amazing beer- rather than wine-steamed mussels at a restaurant in Vancouver two summers ago, and I still remember all of their amazing steamed mussels flavor combinations (since I tasted everyone’s at the table), including one with beer + cilantro and one in a Thai coconut curry broth– another that I intend to re-create sometime soon!

  8. November 29, 2012 1:23 pm

    Many congrats Alison! here is a wish for many more 100 posts to come: ) this mussles recipes looks delicious, here is a toast for you :)

    • December 1, 2012 1:22 pm

      Thank you! I really appreciate your comments. I’m hoping there’ll be many more 100-post milestones as well :)

  9. November 29, 2012 2:13 pm

    Congratulations Alison!!
    I adore this, it is SO delicious :-) Moules frites – yum!!!
    I love that you added lime and cilantro too – a must try recipe!
    Thank you!!

    • December 1, 2012 1:23 pm

      Thanks, Anne! Yes, I know cilantro can be controversial, but I love it so much, and I actually don’t like parsley that much… so I was more excited to prepare the mussels this way than in the traditional way, and it made it slightly more blog post-worthy, too.

  10. November 29, 2012 2:39 pm

    Congrats on this blog milestone!! How exciting :)

    This dish reminds me of our time in Philly. There were a lot of Belgian gastropubs that served moules frites, and of course all manner of beers :) Yours looks delicious…I love cilantro and lime together!!

    • December 1, 2012 1:24 pm

      Thank you! :) I used to live in Philly, too!! And I know just the restaurant(s) that you’re talking about– like Monk’s right? I miss going there for beer!

      • December 1, 2012 2:09 pm

        OMG, Yes! We used to live close to there :) I miss Monk’s too! And La Viola across the street.

      • December 1, 2012 6:38 pm

        La Viola is the BEST! I wrote about their food two different times when I was writing for the Phila. Tourism Blog “Uwishunu” back in 2007.

        That’s a nice neighborhood to live in! :) I lived in West Philly.

  11. November 29, 2012 7:09 pm

    Hats off to you Alison for your 100th!

  12. November 29, 2012 8:40 pm

    Congrats on hitting such an awesome milestone :D
    Delicious dish to celebrate!

    Choc Chip Uru

    • December 1, 2012 1:27 pm

      Thank you! :) It does actually feel like a bigger milestone than when my blog hit one year old (and I’d only been posting regularly/frequently for about half of that year…).

  13. November 30, 2012 8:56 am

    holy yum!!!

  14. November 30, 2012 9:50 pm

    Congrats on your 100th post, Alison!
    Todd and I loved making/eating mussels for the first time. Our only regret was not having them with fries. Next time, it’s certainly going to be on the menu.

    • December 1, 2012 1:28 pm

      Thanks, Whitney! Yes, I saw that post– and your mussels sounded great! Fries are a definite must for me with mussels now, although you can’t go wrong with a baguette to dip in the broth either! Yum…

  15. December 1, 2012 11:34 pm

    Congratulations Allison for your 100th, I just have nominated you for Very Inspiring Blogger Award
    Sincerely Anto

  16. December 21, 2012 10:55 pm

    Congrats on your milestone! The mussels sound great too!

  17. Kelly Savage permalink
    March 23, 2013 8:38 pm

    Congrats on 100! How cool!

  18. Sandhya permalink
    March 24, 2013 11:51 am

    Congrats Allison!! I still remember you talking about starting a food blog, when we visited you and Paula in SB last year! How exciting that you and your little blog have come so far since then!

    • March 24, 2013 3:12 pm

      Thanks, Sandhya! I think I had already started the blog when you came to visit (since I wrote my first post in July 2011), but I do remember that when you visited, you were encouraging me to monetize it, etc. Turns out it takes a bit of start-up money to do that in the first place (I can’t add ads while still using this free WordPress platform), but… someday! :) Meanwhile, it is truly exciting and encouraging to see the number of this blog’s followers continue to grow!

  19. January 7, 2014 11:56 am

    THIS looks amazing and I think I’ve just decided on what to make for Valentine’s day this year. Thanks for sharing this recipe (and linking back to it so I could find it) – I can’t wait to eat!

    • January 9, 2014 10:08 am

      Yay! Oh man, this would be the perfect Valentine’s day dinner, for sure! We actually just made this again when my parents were in town on New Year’s Eve! (But with parsley and lemon, instead of cilantro and lime, since my mom can’t stand cilantro.) So so fancy and delicious.


  1. Baked Falafel and Tzatziki Yogurt Sauce | spontaneous tomato
  2. Blistered Shishito Salsa with Roasted Cod | spontaneous tomato

I love, love, love reading your comments!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: