This is my take on a classic moules marinière and more refreshing than the original.
The sweetness of the cider works with the briny juiciness of the mussels. Get the fishmonger to remove the beards for you, and cook them soon after you get on board.
- 1 tbsp olive or rapeseed oil
- 1 shallot, peeled and sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- 1 bay leaf grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tbsp brandy (optional)
- 200ml dry cider
- 1 kg mussels, washed, beards removed (discard any that are open)
- handful of flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- salt and pepper
- crusty bread
Heat the oil in a large, deep pan. Add the shallot, garlic, bay leaf, lemon zest and seasoning, and cook for 2–3 minutes until softened. Add the brandy, if you’re using it, and cook until the liquid has evaporated. Pour in the cider and let it boil for a minute or two to let the alcohol burn off. Add the mussels and give it all a good stir. Cover with a lid to let the mussels steam and cook for 3–4 minutes until the shells have opened, giving the pan a good shake every now and again. Discard any that do not open. Add the lemon juice, parsley and a grind of pepper, stir well and serve in deep bowls with crusty bread