After cleaning, place the mussels in a saucepan over medium–high heat. Add white wine, diced shallots, a few lumps of butter, and salt and pepper to taste. Cover, bring to a simmer, and steam, uncovering and stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes or just until the shells open and the meat has firmed slightly. To serve, remove the top half of each shell and place the mussels in their half shell in a large, shallow soup bowl. Return the cooking liquid to high heat and monter au beurre. Remove from the heat and allow to rest for a couple of minutes so that any sand will settle in the bottom of the pan. Using a ladle, carefully, and without disturbing the bottom of the pan, transfer the hot broth to the mussels and serve. Mussels can also be cooked, shucked, and returned to their shells, placed between two layers of savory stuffing, and served as an appetizer or hors d’oeuvre.