Cider Steamed Mussels

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I am an avid home cook, but certain dishes fall into the “restaurant food” category much to my own loss. Not one to shy away from a culinary challenge, I am often inspired to demystify such foods and prove that nothing should be left to chefs in a professional kitchen. I  know I am not alone in thinking mussels would be tough to pull off, but I was absolutely wrong. I blame my landlocked Midwestern roots for not trying mussels at home sooner.

My husband J. grew up on the coast, so that has influenced my interest in all the sea has to offer. Quality mussels require a trip to the fishmonger. They are not a standard supermarket purchase, but it is worth the extra effort. The traditional French preparation is with white wine, butter and garlic. This recipe is a twist on that classic using cider and scallions. Make sure to serve with crusty bread to mop up the sauce.
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Cider Steamed Mussels
Adapted from James Martin

Serves 2

1/2 tablespoon butter
8 scallions, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 lbs. mussels, debearded and scrubbed
1 cup cider
5 thyme sprigs
1/3 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons Italian parsley, chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Crusty bread, to serve

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over high heat. Sauté the scallions and garlic for 2 minutes. Then add the mussels, cider and thyme and cover the saucepan. Steam for 3-4 minutes until the mussels have opened.

Pour the heavy cream into the saucepan, add 1 tablespoon parsley and season with salt and pepper.

Divide the mussels into 2 serving bowls. Pour the sauce over mussels and sprinkle with the remaining parsley. Serve with crusty bread.

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