Fresh ground black pepper
1. Place serving plates and a rimmed baking sheet in the refrigerator.
2. Clean and debeard the mussels; tap on any that are cracked or slightly open. If they do not close, discard them.
3. Cut the large shallot into chunks. Mince the medium shallot(s) (for the sauce). Combine the shallot chunks and white wine in a large pot over medium-high heat. Once the wine comes to a boil, reduce heat to medium and add the mussels. Cover, cook for 3 minutes, shaking the pot once or twice.
4. Meanwhile, mince the cornichons, capers, tarragon, parsley and chives, placing them in a medium bowl. Add the reserved minced shallot, along with the mustard and creme fraiche. Gradually whisk in the oil to form a slightly thickened sauce. Season with salt and pepper.
5. Use a Chinese skimmer to transfer the steamed mussels to the chilled baking sheet, spreading them in a single layer. Discard the cooking liquid and any mussels that have not opened.
6. When mussels are cool enough to handle, discard the empty halves of the shells. Arrange the mussels on the chilled plates. Spoon a little sauce on each mussel. Serve.
Per serving (based on 3): 440 calories, 37 g protein, 13 g carbohydrates, 26 g fat, 7 g saturated fat, 100 mg cholesterol, 1120 mg sodium, 0 g dietary fiber, 0 g sugar