How to cook mussels

There is no better feeling than gathering nature’s goodies and then dining off the freshest and best produce available, particularly if this involves a walk on the beach and an alfresco supper.  Mussels are one of the most delicious foods one can foreage for, but can be difficult to select and intimidating to cook.  

When gathering the shellfish make sure you take only mussels that are regularly washed by the tide and look healthy and smell cleanly of the sea. Soak the mussels in cold water for a while to extract sand, salt and grit and give them a good scrape before cooking.  Do not cook any mussels that are open at this point, and also remember that after the cooking process is complete nobody should eat any that have not opened.  

Moules Mariniere
Serves 4


2 kg / 4 1/2 lb mussels
2 onions
2 garlic gloves
4 tablespoons chopped parsley
200 ml / 7 fl oz dry white wine
150 ml water
a few tablespoons of cream
45 g / 1 1/2 oz butter
salt and pepper


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Scrub clean the mussels to remove barnacles and pull off their wiry beard, rinse several times to extract as much grit as possible.   

Finely chop and sweat the onions in a large pan with half the butter.  Add the garlic and most of the parsley, the wine and water and bring to the boil.  Allow to simmer for 15 minutes.  

Return the liquid to a fast boil to reduce and add in the mussels. Put the lid on the pan for a few minutes, shake the pan, open and check all the mussels have opened. Discard any that have not.

Stir in the cream and add the remaining butter.  Serve the Moules in large bowls with crusty bread or frites to mop up the delicious juice. Scatter with parsley.  

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