Is this one of the best meals we've had in our entire lives?"


That was the question we considered throughout a two-hour dinner at Chez Muffy in Auberge Saint-Antoine, a museum hotel in Quebec City. (See "Oh, Canada!")


The discussion began as we savored an appetizer of salted herb mussels on focaccia; continued as we delighted in a beautiful bowl of mixed greens dressed in a sublime vinaigrette; reached a crescendo as we melted into a buttery tail in the lobster spaghetti; and lingered as we marveled at an elegant strawberry mousse.


Yes, it was one of the best meals we've had in our entire lives. So delicious, in fact, that we asked for the recipes to try to recreate the dinner back in the Triangle. The chef was kind enough to translate them from the original French (amounts remain in metric) and provide them for all the readers of Carolina Woman so that you can indulge, too!



Salted Herb Mussels



500g Bread flour
26cl Water
10g Fine salt
7g Baking powder or baking soda
3cl Olive oil


Dissolve the baking soda in a glass with a little bit of warm water and a teaspoon of sugar.


Place the flour on a work surface, incorporate the baking powder and start kneading it.


Add the salt, olive oil and, slowly, the rest of the water. Work the dough for at least 10 minutes, until it is smooth and uniform. Moisten your hands and form a ball. Let it rise, well covered with a cloth or plastic wrap, in a container in a warm and draft-free area for 2 hours.


When the dough has risen, flatten it with your hands on an oiled baking sheet. Then, make indentations with your fingers on top and brush on a dash of olive oil. Sprinkle with salt.


Cover the focaccia and let it rest for 30 minutes. Then place it in a preheated oven and let it bake to 400 degrees Fahrenheit 8 to 10 minutes, until it has a nice golden color.


Mixture of Herbs

205g Carrots, finely chopped
145g Leeks, finely chopped
70g Celery, finely chopped
45g Curly parsley, chopped
40g Chives, chopped
10g Savory (mint), chopped
10g Thyme, chopped
5ml Rosemary, chopped
4 Green onions, finely chopped
150g Kosher salt


Combine all the ingredients in a bowl, cover and let rest in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days before using.



2l Fresh mussels
1 Large shallot
Bunch of parsley
150ml Dry white wine
1,5cl Olive oil
Salt and pepper
200ml Heavy cream


Fill a big bowl with water. Wash and scrape off the mussels. Discard any that are open or that float to the top.


Peel the shallot and slice it. Wash the parsley. Heat the olive oil in a pan and cook the shallot until it becomes transparent.


Add the mussels, salt and pepper. Pour in the white wine and stir well. Cover and let it cook for approximately 5 minutes, mixing occasionally.


Remove the mussels and let the liquid keep cooking for 5 minutes longer until it reduces 50% and you have approximately 125ml liquid.


Add 125ml cream and let boil for 2 minutes.


Use a hand mixer to whip the sauce in order to obtain a foam.


To serve

Place the focaccia on a plate, spread the mixture of salty herbs on it and top with the mussels. Before serving, spoon on the mussels foam.



Mixed Greens



250g of fresh raw vegetables of the season and of your liking, such as lettuce, cucumbers, carrots, garden herbs, radishes and edible flowers



1 heaping tablespoon of Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons brown mustard
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
10 tablespoons sunflower oil
7 tablespoons warm water
Salt and pepper


Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl.


To serve

To the bowl of dressing, add the fresh vegetables and toss.


Lobster Spaghetti


Two 2-pound Lobsters uncooked
(yields 700g cooked lobster)
60g Onions
30g Celery
60g Carrot
60ml Olive oil
2 Garlic cloves
15g Tomato paste
60g White Flour
60ml Brandy
200ml White wine
1 L Fish stock
Fresh thyme (a few sprigs)
125ml Heavy cream
Cayenne pepper
Salt & pepper
Sundried tomatoes


Detach the heads of the lobsters and set aside. Then, detach the claws.


Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the claws. Boil for 6 minutes. Drain and cool in ice water. With the water still at a boil, put in the rest of the lobster excluding the heads for 4 minutes. Drain and cool in ice water.


Remove cooked meat from the shells, reserving any lobster juice in a bowl.


In a large pot, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil, lobster heads, carrot, celery and onion. Cook approximately 5 minutes, until the vegetables start to soften. Add the white wine and brandy and cook for another 3 minutes. Add the tomato paste, 2 pinches of salt and the reserved lobster juice.


Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 45 minutes.


Strain through a sieve and set aside the liquid. Put the liquid into a pot and simmer until it reduces to approximately 2 cups of sauce, which should have a strong, rich and salty lobster flavor.


Homemade Spaghetti

500g White flour
5 Eggs


Put the flour on a work surface. Dig a well, add the eggs and mix with a fork. Once the eggs have absorbed the flour, work the dough with your hands approximately 10 to 15 minutes until it is compact, smooth and elastic. (Add water if it is too dry or if flour is too sticky). Form a ball and let it rest for 1 hour at room temperature.


Separate the ball into 3 pieces. In a pasta press, roll it out 5 to 6 times until it becomes a flat, thin strip. If necessary, put flour on the dough so it doesn't stick. Fold it in half before passing it through the machine again. Let the dough rest on a cloth for at least 10 minutes. A pasta dryer rack can be used.


Fresh Vegetables


Prepare seasonal vegetables, such as carrot, celery stalk, white turnip, broad beans, peas, fava beans, kale or other greens, by blanching and then grilling and glazing with butter and sugar.


To serve

Cook the fresh pasta in a large quantity of salted water for 1 to 2 minutes depending on its thickness.


For a few minutes, heat the lobster in the sauce you created along with sundried tomatoes and dill. In a large bowl, mix vegetables and pasta and add a little bit of sauce. Arrange the mixture on a large plate with curved sides. Place the lobster on top of the mixture and serve with remaining sauce.



Strawberry Mousse


1kg Strawberries
100g Maple syrup
10g Mint
10g Thyme
Mint espuma (foam)


Put all the ingredients together in a bowl, covered, or in a Ziplock bag. Place in the refrigerator and let marinate for 12 to 24 hours.


The next day, drain the strawberries while keeping the juice. In a blender, pulse the strawberries with some of the juice until the combination reaches the consistency you like for mousse.


Mint Espuma (Foam)

500g Milk
500g Cream
1 Bunch fresh mint
100g Sugar


On a stovetop, slowly heat up the milk, cream and sugar. Turn off the heat, add the mint, put a lid on the pot, and let the mint infuse at least 15 minutes.


Strain through a sieve and put it in a cool place. Once it cools, put it in a siphon bottle (whipped cream dispenser with C02 cartridge) and refrigerate until ready to assemble the parfait.


To serve

In a parfait glass, layer strawberry cream with mint espuma. Serve immediately.