Cook the potatoes, barely covered in salted water, until soft. Put through a sieve with the cooking water. Meanwhile, prepare the mussels by scrubbing, scraping and trimming. Cook the garlic in the oil for a few minutes. Add the mussels and cook, covered, over a high flame. As soon as the shells open (discard any that don’t) remove from the pan. Scoop the mussels from the shells.
Sieve the cooking liquid from the mussels into the potato mixture. You may need to add a little water to achieve a thick soup consistency. Add the mussels, heat and at the last moment stir in the butter. Sprinkle with chopped parsley.
When the potato was first introduced into Denmark in the eighteenth century, the
Danes, unsure of this new vegetable, served it as a dessert, hot and salted in a napkin.
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