3 shallots (or half a medium onion, finely chopped)
300 ml dry white wine
1 bay leaf
1 sprig fresh thyme
small bunch of parsley stalks
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tblsp chopped fresh parsley
Heat the butter and oil together in a large frying pan or saucepan.
Add the garlic and shallots or onion and cook gently for 3-4 minutes until soft.
Pour in the wine and bring to the boil.
Add the herbs, seasoning and mussels, cover and cook for about 5 minutes, shaking the pan and tossing it with an up-and-down motion so that the mussels cook evenly.
The shells should all be open now, so throw out any that aren't!
Remove the mussels with a large, flat slotted spoon and put them into a warmed deep dish.
Cover the dish and keep the mussels warm.
Strain the cooking liquid through a sieve, rinse the pan, return the liquid to it, bring to the boil and boil for 5 minutes.
Pour over the mussels and sprinkle with the chopped parsley.
Serve in warm soup bowls, with chunks of wholemeal bread and butter.
Variations: for a richer dish the cooking liquid can be reduced by boiling over a high heat for 10 minutes, then 6 tablespoons of cream and lemon juice to taste stirred in, before pouring over the mussels.