Billi Bi Soup

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Chef John Bil, Ship to Shore Restaurant, PEI
The following recipe is provided by John Bil, Ship to Shore Restaurant in Malpeque Bay, PEI. This recipe, an oldie but goodie, is said to have been created in the 1940s by Pierre Franey, from the legendary Le Pavillon Restaurant in New York City.


2 pounds (900 g) mussels
2 shallots, coarsely chopped
2 small onions, quartered
2 sprigs parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1 cup (250 mL) dry white wine
2 tablespoons (30 mL) butter
1/2 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon (2 mL) thyme
2 cups (500 mL) 35% cream
1 egg yolk, lightly beaten


Place mussels in a large pot with the shallots, onion, parsley, salt, pepper, cayenne, wine, butter, bay leaf and thyme. Cover and bring to a boil. Simmer 5-10 minutes, or until the mussels have opened. (Discard mussels that do not open.) Reserve mussels for another use, or remove them from shells to use as a garnish.

Strain the liquid through a double thickness of cheesecloth. Bring liquid to a boil, and add cream. Return to boil, and remove from heat.

Add egg yolk and heat just long enough for the soup to thicken slightly (do not boil.) Serve hot or cold. This dish may be enriched, if desired, by stirring 2 tablespoons (30 mL) of hollandaise sauce into the soup before it is served. Makes 2-4 servings.
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