In a saute pan, heat the olive oil. When the oil is hot, saute the shallots and garlic. Add the bay leaves and thyme. Add the wine and butter. Bring up to a boil, reduce to a simmer. Add the mussels to the wine and cover. Simmer the mussels for 5 to 8 minutes or until the shells open. Discard any shells that do not open. Stir in the parsley and season with salt and pepper. Divide the mussels between 2 bowls and serve with crusty bread.
Add enough oil to a large saucepan or deep-fryer to come at least halfway up the sides of the pan and heat the oil to 325 degrees F.
Cut the potatoes into thin sticks about 1/4-inch wide and 3 to 4 inches long. Dry all of the pieces thoroughly in a clean kitchen towel. Divide the potato sticks into small batches about 1 cup each. Do not fry more than 1 batch at a time.
Fry the potatoes in batches until lightly colored but not browned, 3 to 4 minutes per batch. Remove from the oil using a skimmer and transfer to paper-lined baking sheet to rest while you cook the remaining potatoes. Repeat with the remaining potato sticks, making sure to allow the oil to return to 325 degrees F between batches.
When you are ready to serve the meal, increase the temperature of the oil to 375 degrees F. Fry the potatoes (in small batches as before) until golden brown and crispy, 1 to 2 minutes. As the potatoes are done, transfer to fresh paper towels to drain and season with salt, to taste. Serve immediately.
Yield: 2 servings