Steaming is a popular cooking method for mussels, because it takes mere minutes, and the mussels come out soft, juicy and flavorful. Although lemon, parsley and white wine are often used to steam them, we are using something quite different here. Our steaming liquid is made with garlic, cider (hard or soft, your choice), bacon, yogurt, and herbs.
Once the bacon is crispy, you can add the rest of the ingredients apart from the yogurt, and let those mussels steam to perfection over a few minutes. Then you can serve the mussels and finish off the sauce by adding yogurt for creaminess. A little black pepper and some fresh herbs are the only flavor accents in there apart from the main ingredients. Parsley is a good choice, or you might prefer to use another type of herb instead.
Serve this French-inspired mussels recipe with crusty rustic bread, cut into nice thick slices, or consider some garlic-rubbed toast if you prefer. Mussels can be messy to eat, but one of the best ways to enjoy them is to eat one mussel, then hold the empty shell between your thumb and forefinger. You can then use this nifty tool to pick the remaining mussels out of their shells! Of course, you will want to enjoy the sauce as well, which is why you need the bread. You will not want to miss one morsel of this delicious feast. This serves two people as a main dish or four to five as an appetizer.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, or as needed
- 6 strips smoky bacon, in ½ inch slices
- 1 peeled, finely sliced garlic clove
- 5 fl oz cider (or pure apple juice)
- 2 lbs scrubbed, de-bearded live mussels
- 2 tablespoons plain yogurt
- 1 small bunch parsley, thyme or tarragon
- Black pepper, to taste
- 4 lemon wedges, for garnish
- Rustic bread, to serve
- Fill a clean sink with cold water, then add 2 tablespoons of salt.
- Next, add the mussels and swish them around.
- Leave them for 15 minutes (they will filter the water and hopefully discard any sand or grit).
- You can skip this step if you are in a rush, but at least give the shells a quick scrub and pull off and discard any 'beards' on the mussels.
- Add a tablespoon of olive oil to a large pan and put it over a high heat.
- Wait a couple of minutes for it to warm up, then you can add the bacon.
- Cook it for 2 minutes or until crispy and golden, stirring often.
- Remove the bacon from the pan, leaving the fat in there.
- Sharply tap any open mussels and discard any which do not close.
- Now you can add the garlic, cider and mussels to the pan, along with another splash of oil.
- Cover the pan and steam the mussels for 4 minutes or until they are open, soft and cooked.
- Shake the pan every minute or so, while the mussels are cooking.
- Transfer the mussels to 2 warmed serving dishes, discarding any which have not opened.
- It is easiest to do this using a slotted spoon.
- Stir the yogurt into the juices left in the pan and bring it to a boil.
- Simmer for 2 minutes, then add most of the herbs and some of the bacon.
- Season with black pepper, stir, then pour the sauce over the mussels.
- Garnish with the lemon wedges, remaining bacon and herbs.
- Serve with plenty of crusty, rustic bread on the side for mopping up the tasty sauce.
Fresh mussels are steamed in a mixture of garlic, bacon, cider, and herbs. Some yogurt then goes into the sauce to make it rich and creamy. The mussels are wonderful with lemon wedges and crusty bread on the side, and this recipe makes an impressive entrée for two people. You could also serve it as an appetizer for four or even five. Preparing fresh mussels is simple and you only need one pot to prepare this exquisite French-inspired recipe. If you usually steam your mussels with lemon, garlic, parsley, and white wine, give this alternative recipe a try, and see which you find the most delicious.
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