- Wash the mussels under plenty of cold, running water. Discard any open ones that won’t close when lightly squeezed.
- Pull out the tough, fibrous beards protruding from between the tightly closed shells and then knock off any barnacles with a large knife. Give the mussels another quick rinse to remove any little pieces of shell.
- Soften the garlic and shallots in the butter with the bouquet garni, in a large pan big enough to take all the mussels – it should only be half full.
- Add the mussels and wine or cider, turn up the heat, then cover and steam them open in their own juices for 3-4 minutes. Give the pan a good shake every now and then.
- Remove the bouquet garni, add the cream and chopped parsley and remove from the heat.
- Spoon into four large warmed bowls and serve with lots of crusty bread.