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Mussels with Herb and Garlic Butter

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Serves: 8
800g / 1 lb 12 oz fresh mussels, in their shells
splash of dry white wine
1 bay leaf
85g / 3 oz butter
350g / 12 oz fresh white or brown breadcrumbs
4 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus extra sprigs to garnish
2 tbsp snipped fresh chives
2 garlic cloves. finely chopped
salt and pepper
lemon wedges, to serve

To prepare the mussels, scrub the shells under cold running water and pull off any beards. Discard any with broken shells. Tap the remaining mussels and discard any that refuse to close.

Put the mussels in a large saucepan and add the wine and the bay leaf. Cook, covered, over a high heat for 5 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally, or until the mussels are opened. Drain the mussels and discard any that remain closed. Shell the mussels, reserving one half of each shell. Arrange the mussels, in their half shells, in a large, shallow, oven proof serving dish.

Melt the butter and pour into a small bowl. Add the breadcrumbs, parsley, chives, garlic, salt and pepper and mix well together. Let stand until the butter has set slightly. Using your fingers or 2 teaspoons, take a large pinch of the herb and butter mixture and use to fill each mussel shell, pressing it down well.

To serve, bake the mussels in a preheated oven, 230ºC / 450ºF / Gas Mark 8, for 10 minutes, or until hot. Serve immediately, garnished with parsley sprigs, and accompanied by lemon wedges for squeezing over them.

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