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This is my version of a classic and ever-popular way of preparing mussels. Make sure you use a pan with a tight-fitting lid to ensure the mussels steam open successfully. And buy the freshest mussels you can from a reputable fishmonger; that way you will really taste the sea. This is a roll-up-your-sleeves kind of dish, to be eaten with your fingers and plenty of crusty bread to mop up the juices.
Heat the oil in a large heavy-based saucepan over high heat. Add the garlic, chilli, tomato, mussels and herbs, then pour in the wine. Cover the pan with a lid and shake a few times. Cook for 5-6 minutes, shaking occasionally.
Remove the lid and check to see whether the mussels have all opened – some may not have. Shake the pan vigorously and cook, covered, for another minute, then discard any mussels that still refuse to open. Season to taste (remembering that the mussels are already quite salty), then tip into a large serving bowl. Drizzle on the ouzo, scatter on the parsley and serve straight away with plenty of crusty bread.
Extracted from The Good Life by Adrian Richardson, published by Pan Macmillan/Plum RRP $59.99, available 1 August, 2011.
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