Mussels are real fast food. They also happen to be incredibly inexpensive compared to other types of seafood making them ideal for when you’re looking for something special to serve to guests. While many recipes instruct cooks to clean and debeard the mussels, removing them of the group of short brown strings often found where the two halves of the shell close, most commercially-bought mussels will already be cleaned of their threads. Instead, to prep mussels for cooking, a quick rinse in a colander is all that’s required. Don’t forget: live mussels should be closed tightly, so be sure to discard any that are open.
Total Time Required: 30 minutes
- 4 lbs. Canadian farmed Blue mussels
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 6 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped
- 2 shallots, minced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 sprigs thyme, leaves stripped
- 12 oz. hard cider
- ¼ cup crème fraiche
- 1 tablespoon grainy Dijon mustard
- Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
- Parsley, for garnish
- Lemon wedges, for garnish
- Crusty baguette, for serving
- Rinse the mussels in a strainer and check them over. The mussels should be tightly closed so discard any with cracked shells. If the shell is open, tap the mussel lightly against the counter. If the mussel is alive the shell should close up, but if it doesn’t discard that as well.
- Pour olive oil into a large pot set over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook until crispy, 3-4 minutes. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon to a paper-towel lined plate, leaving behind as much fat as possible.
- Add the shallots and garlic to the pot and cook for one minute, stirring often, or until the shallots are translucent and fragrant. Sprinkle with thyme leaves and stir well.
- Add the mussels and cider to the pot and stir with a wooden spoon. Cover the pot and steam the mussels until all of them have opened, shaking the pot once or twice during cooking. This should take 4 to 5 minutes.
- Remove the lid and check the mussels. If all of them aren’t open, return the lid and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes. Discard any mussels that don’t open after this time.
- Using a slotted spoon, transfer the mussels to a large bowl, leaving the liquid behind. Stir in the crème fraiche and mustard. Boil for 2 minutes, and add the bacon back to the pot. Stir well and season with salt and pepper.
- Divide the mussels between four bowls and ladle over some of the sauce. Garnish with parsley and lemon, and serve with good crusty bread for mopping up the sauce.