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West Country cider mussels

When you have gone to the trouble of collecting your own mussels, you really want a recipe that brings out the best in them. This Anglicised take on moules marinières, which John pinched straight from The River Cottage Fish Book, is one of his favourites.


Heat the butter in a deep, wide pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and garlic,then cover and sweat for 5 minutes or so, stirring occasionally, until softened but not coloured.

Increase the heat and add the thyme. When it releases its scent, add the cider vinegar,if using, and cider, then the mussels and some salt and pepper.

Give them a quick stir and a shake, then cover with a tight-fitting lid.

Cook for 3–4 minutes, shaking the pan a couple of times, until the mussels are open (discard any that remain closed). Add the cream, if you like, to the juices in the pan.

Spoon the mussels into warmed bowls, pour the juices over and around them, and serve with good bread and a glass of cider.

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  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 1 onion, peeled and finely sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely sliced
  • 1 tsp thyme leaves, or 2 tsp wild thyme (if you can find any!)
  • 1½ tsp cider vinegar (optional)
  • ½ glass of medium cider
  • 1kg mussels, purged,scrubbed and debearded
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp double cream (optional)

This recipe is taken from...

River Cottage Edible Seashore Handbook

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