• 1.75kg/4lb mussels

  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped

  • 2 shallots, finely chopped

  • 15g/½oz butter

  • a bouquet garni of parsley, thyme and bay leaves

  • 100ml/3½fl oz dry white wine or cider

  • 120ml/4fl oz double cream

  • handful of parsley leaves, coarsley chopped

  • crusty bread, to serve


  • 1.

    Wash the mussels under plenty of cold, running water. Discard any open ones that won't close when lightly squeezed.

  • 2.

    Pull out the tough, fibrous beards protruding from between the tightly closed shells and then knock off any barnacles with a large knife. Give the mussels another quick rinse to remove any little pieces of shell.

  • 3.

    Soften the garlic and shallots in the butter with the bouquet garni, in a large pan big enough to take all the mussels - it should only be half full.

  • 4.

    Add the mussels and wine or cider, turn up the heat, then cover and steam them open in their own juices for 3-4 minutes. Give the pan a good shake every now and then.

  • 5.

    Remove the bouquet garni, add the cream and chopped parsley and remove from the heat.

  • 6.

    Spoon into four large warmed bowls and serve with lots of crusty bread.

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