Mussels with Cider

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.   

For 2 

  • 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

To serve

  • crusty bread

Method

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

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