This is usually served as a starter, but it also makes a great main course (see p. 34).
Sweat the chopped shallots and garlic in
To start the mussel liquor, sweat the chopped onion, carrot, celery and leek in the butter with the garlic, bay leaf and thyme for a few minutes. Add the white wine and boil to reduce until almost dry. Add the fish stock and bring to the boil, then add the mussels. Stir until the shells begin to open, then remove from the heat.
Strain the cooking liquor through a fine sieve and discard the vegetables. Remove the mussels from their shells, discarding any that have not opened, and remove any sinews from the mussels. Keep them moist in a little of the stock. Rinse the shells.
Boil the liquor to reduce it until a good mussel flavour is achieved, then gradually add the shallot and garlic butter in knobs. Add the mussels, toasted almonds and parsley. Place some of the shells in a circle on large individual bowls or plates. Spoon the mussels into the shells and pour over some of the cooking liquor. To finish the dish, sprinkle with the warm, golden toasted breadcrumbs.
© 1994 Gary Rhodes. All rights reserved.