Raymond Blanc gives his recipe for this Normandy classic. Buy mussels that have already been cleaned and de-bearded to make it even quicker.
Wash the mussels under cold running water in a sink, removing any beards and barnacles. Do not scrub the shells as the colour will transfer during cooking giving an unappetising grey colour to the dish. Discard any mussels that float or remain open when tapped against the side of the sink.
Boil the wine in a small saucepan for 30 seconds then set aside. (This is to remove the harsh taste of the alcohol and leave only the fruity acidity of the wine.)
Melt the butter in a large saucepan over a high heat, then add the onion, bay leaves and thyme. Stir for 10 seconds, then add the wine and bring to a boil.
Add the mussels, cover with a lid and cook for 2-3 minutes or until the mussels open. (Discard any mussels that do not open.)
Add the whipping cream and parsley and stir well. No seasoning is required as the mussels will release a little salt water when they open, which is enough to season the dish perfectly.
Serve the mussels in a large warmed serving dish or four soup plates. Give your guests finger bowls and plenty of good-quality French bread to mop up the juices.
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