- 1 kilogram mussels
- 75 grams smoked bacon
- 4 shallots/1 onion, peeled
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled
- A few tarragon leaves/thyme sprigs
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 200 milliliters cider/real ale
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice (only if using cider)
- 600 grams mussels
50 grams double cream
- 3/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- A good squeeze of lemon juice
- A handful of at-leaf parsley, chopped
- Mussels: select, scrub and clean the mussels, discarding any that are cracked, damaged or refuse to close when tapped. scrub them several times and tug out any black fibrous beards.
- Sauce: slice the bacon into strips. finely chop the shallots/ onion. Crush the garlic. finely slice the tarragon or strip the thyme.
- Heat a wide saute pan/casserole dish large enough to take all the mussels.
- Add the oil. Throw in the bacon and fry gently for 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon.
- Add the shallots and garlic. Stir and fry very gently in the bacon oil for 5 minutes, or until soft and translucent.
- Increase the heat. Add the cider and lemon juice/real ale and bring the mix to the boil. At that moment, whack the mussels in.
- Cover the pan immediately and cook for 3-4 minutes, shaking the pan a few times to keep it even.
- Turn the mussels once and check progress. Once they're opened, drain the pot into a colander over a bowl. Keep the mussels warm. Return the collected liquid to the pan.
- Add the tarragon and thyme and boil to reduce it a little if there's too much or if you want to reduce it to strengthen the flavour.
- Otherwise, just add the cream and mustard, bring to the boil, stir to amalgamate and taste for seasoning.
- Add the bacon.
- Divide the mussels between bowls, scatter over the parsley and pour over the sauce.
- Serve with lots of bread to soak up the juices and frites.