Moules à la Normande
(Mussels with Cream Sauce: A more sophisticated version of Moules Marinière.)

Mussels

Serves 4

25g butter
1 shallot
1 clove of garlic
chopped parsley
celery leaves
dry cider or dry white wine
3.5 litres mussels, cleaned and de-bearded
500ml double cream


1. Melt the butter in a wide pan, add a shallot, garlic, parsley and a few celery leaves, all coarsely chopped, then a large glass of dry cider or dry white wine.

2. Add the cleaned mussels, cover the pan for the first few minutes, then remove the lid and take out the mussels as they open and transfer them to a warmed dish or tureen.

3. Strain the remaining stock through muslin, return it to the pan, and let it reduce by about half.

4. Put the cream to boil in a small pan, so that it reduces and thickens. Meantime, remove the empty half shells from the cooked mussels.

5. Add the boiling cream to the mussel stock, and off the fire stir in a good lump of butter. Pour bubbling hot over the mussels, add chopped parsley, and serve quickly.

One of the best wines to drink with mussels is a fresh clean Muscadet from the Loire.

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