Mussels with cider cream sauce
- 1.8kg mussels
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 15g butter
- 2-3 shallots, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 1 sprig thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 250ml dry cider
- Pinch of sugar
- 100ml double cream
- 1 rounded tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
- Crusty bread, to serve
Wash the mussels under cold running water. Discard any open ones, as they may be dead and therefore poisonous. Pull off the tough fibres, or 'beards', sticking out of the shells, then use a sharp knife to remove any barnacles stuck to them. Rinse again.
Heat the oil and butter in your largest pan, then add the shallots and cook over a medium heat until soft but not coloured. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
Add the mussels. If your pan isn't large enough to hold them all, put half the shallot and garlic mixture in another pan and divide the mussels between them.
Add the thyme, bay leaf, cider and sugar. Cover the pan and heat until just simmering. Cook on a low heat for 3-5 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally, until the shells are open. If any stay closed, discard them.
Using a slotted spoon, divide the mussels between 4 warmed serving bowls, then cover to keep warm.
Boil the cooking liquid, uncovered, for 1-2 minutes to reduce it. Discard the thyme stalks and bay leaf, then stir in the cream. Heat for a few seconds, taking care it doesn't boil. Pour over the mussels and sprinkle with parsley. Serve immediately with crusty bread.