SERVES 4 PREP & COOK 1hr
2kg (4½lb) mussels (moules de bouchot, preferably) 40g (1½oz) shallots 40g (1½oz) parsley, plus extra to garnish 80g (3oz) butter 1 tbsp olive oil 1 sprig of thyme ½–2 head of garlic, peeled 800ml (1½pt) dry white wine freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 Scrub the mussels, pull off the ‘beards’ and wash in several baths of cold water. 2 Discard the mussels that are already open or damaged. Drain the remaining mussels. 3 Peel and finely chop the shallots. Wash and blot the parsley, then chop finely. 4 In a large casserole pot, melt half the butter with 1 tbsp olive oil, and fry the shallots until soft. Add the mussels along with half of the chopped parsley, the thyme and whole garlic cloves. 5 Deglaze the base of the pan with the white wine, add freshly ground black pepper. Bring to the boil on a high heat, and cover for six to eight minutes. Stir the mussels gently. 6 As soon as some of the mussels start to open, take off the heat. 7 Drain the mussels over a bowl and sieve to eliminate any bits of sand and shell, reserving the juice. Discard any mussels that haven’t opened. Add the filtered juice back to the pan and simmer over a high heat until the liquid has reduced by a third. 8 Take off the heat, and add the rest of the butter, cut into pieces. 9 Pour the sauce over the mussels, and sprinkle over the rest of the parsley.