Mussels in parsley, cider and cream
There is something rather generous about a large bowlful of mussels set in the centre of the table for everyone to help themselves. Frequently, I serve food that requires fingers rather than cutlery, as it seems to inspire a more convivial atmosphere. Mussels are possibly the most tactile of all ingredients, and using one mussel shell as a pincer to remove the meat from the remaining shells is a most rewarding way to eat.
- Scrub the mussels under cold running water, then remove the beards with a sharp downward tug. Discard any dead or broken mussels.
- Finely chop the red onion, then place with the butter in a large saucepan over a low heat.
- Cook for 2 minutes to allow the onion to soften, then pour in the cider.
- Bring to a brisk simmer, tip in the mussels, then cover with a lid.
- Steam the mussels for 3 minutes or until the shells have opened, then remove them to a deep, warmed bowl.
- Increase the heat under the saucepan, then pour in the cream and allow it to bubble away until it has reduced to a sauce consistency.
- Stir in the parsley, then taste for salt and pepper. Pour the sauce over the mussels and serve.