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Steamed Mussels with Cider, Spring Onion, and Cream

Long summer evenings with the possibility of dinner al fresco are in the offing, and we highly recommend these light, little fruits de mer for your consideration when you next make plans for a simple supper. The recipe requires only one large pot and takes about 5 minutes to prepare. Simply add a tossed green salad, a loaf of crusty bread, and dinner is served. Hard cider, which is very popular in Britain, is an alcoholic drink similar to a light, fruity lager. If you can’t find it (or you want to make the recipe non-alcoholic) you can substitute sparkling cider.

Steamed Mussels with Cider, Spring Onion, and Cream

2 lbs. live mussels
1 tbs. butter
8 spring onions (green onions), sliced into 1″ pieces
2 garlic cloves, sliced thin
9 fl. oz. hard cider
4 fresh thyme sprigs
¼ pint light cream (½ cup)
1 oz. flat leaf parsley, chopped (½ cup)

Wash the mussels in a colander to remove any dirt and grit. Pick through them, removing any stringy “beards” from the shells. If any of the mussels are slightly open, tap them on the work surface to see if they close (which means they are still alive) and discard any that remain open.

Melt the butter in a large, heavy-bottomed pot with a lid. Sauté the spring onions and garlic over a high heat for 1 minute. Pour in the cider, add the thyme, and the mussels. Cover and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until the mussels start to open. Add the cream, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and add the parsley.

Put the mussels in a bowl and pour over the sauce and any spring onions left in the pan. Serve with crusty bread to mop up the juices.

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