Mussels are at their best during the colder months as they tend to spawn in the summer and the meat ratio to shell is small. Mussels are a great value meal and lots of fun for the kids to get involved in. I don’t think I ate a mussel until I was 16 which sounds odd being brought up on the coast but really wish I had although I did get spoilt on crab, lobster and scallops so I can’t complain I suppose. Always check the mussels are all closed when you buy them but there will always be the odd one that dies.
2kg mussels, washed and the beards removed
1 small onion, peeled, halved and finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed or grated or a few leaves of wild garlic, shredded
6 rashers of good quality rindless streaky bacon, finely chopped
A good knob of butter
100ml double cream (optional)
2tbsp finely chopped parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
In a large pot big enough to fit the mussels (you may need two, depending how many you're feeding), gently cook the onion, garlic and bacon in the butter for 2-3 minutes to soften the onion.
Add the cider and simmer for a minute or so.
Add the mussels, cream and parsley, season and cook with a lid on for a few minutes, stirring every so often until all the mussels have opened.
Serve immediately in bowls with the liquor.