Seasonal recipe of the week – mussels with cider

04 January 2012
Seasonal recipe of the week – mussels with cider

(Serves four)
1.5kg mussels
1 leek, finely diced
1 onion, finely diced
1 clove garlic, finely sliced
2 bay leaves
4 sprigs of thyme
20g chopped parsley
½ litre of good dry cider
½ litre double cream
Pinch of saffron
Pinch of cayenne

Soak the mussels and remove the beards. Place a solid bottomed pan on a high heat until it's very hot. Drain the mussels, place them in the pan and add the bay leaves, thyme, onion, leek and cider. Cook with a lid on until the mussels open, then drain in a colander.

Put the liquor back on the heat and add the saffron and cayenne. Also add any extra liquid drained from the mussels and reduce the liquid by half. Add the double cream and boil. Reduce for at least 5 minutes until the cream can coat the back of a spoon. Adjust the seasoning.

Put the mussels in the cream sauce, stir in the parsley then reheat and serve with crusty bread.

Tim Payne is head chef at Paradise by Way of Kensal Green, London

Because of the cider in this dish I would pair a wine that reflects the apple flavours and also has enough crisp acidity and depth to not be overpowered by the mussels. For this you could try something from northern Spain, like a Rueda wine made with Verdejo grape, but my choice would be a classic Chenin Blanc from Vouvray. Chenin has a crisp apple-like flavour and lots of character.

Ronan Sayburn MS is director of wine and spirits at Hotel du Vin

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