MUSSELS MARINIERE

1 1/2 lbs mussels per person
1 TBS oil
4 TBS butter
2 large shalots, finely diced
salt and pepper
3 garlic cloves, smashed to a paste with a little salt
1 large thyme sprig
1 bay leaf
2 cups white wine
parsley
2 baguettes, crisped in the oven

Clean mussels by swishing them in a large bowl of cold water. Wash away any sand and grit. Discard any mussels that are opened.  Remove their beads by pulling them off.  Put them in a colander and cover them with a damp paper towel.

Heat a large dutch oven over medium heat. Add oil and butter and heat until butter melts. Add shallots and cook for 5 minutes without browning. They should be very soft and slightly golden. Add garlic and a few turns of pepper. Stir. Cook for 1 minute.

Add thyme, bay, wine and mussels and cover. Steam the mussels over high heat for 10 minutes, until they are all opened. Remove a couple of time during the cooking process to stir mussels so they cook evenly.

Chop a handful of parsley while the mussels are steaming.  And when the mussels are cooked sprinkle the parsley over the mussels.

Take the pot to the table and ladle into bowls.  Serve with bread for sopping!
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