Rick Stein’s Cornish mussels with cider

This is a version of moules marinière using Cornish ingredients – you can’t go wrong really.

James Murphy


1.75kg mussels
20g butter
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
4 or 5 spring onions, chopped
A few thyme sprigs
A couple of bay leaves
100ml dry cider
120ml double cream
Good handful wild sorrel leaves, coarsely chopped, or 200g baby spinach leaves, washed
Salt and black pepper
Crusty bread, to serve

  1. Wash the mussels under plenty of cold, running water. Discard any open ones that won’t close when lightly squeezed or tapped. Pull out any tough, fibrous beards protruding from the tightly closed shells and knock off any barnacles with a large knife. Give the mussels another quick rinse to remove any little pieces of shell.
  2. Melt the butter in a large pan with a lid. Add the garlic, spring onions, thyme and bay leaves, then cook until softened. Add the mussels and cider, then turn up the heat, cover the pan and leave the mussels to steam in their own juices for 3-4 minutes. Give the pan a good shake every now and then.
  3. Add the cream and the chopped sorrel or baby spinach and remove from the heat. Season with salt and black pepper. Spoon into large warmed bowls and serve with lots of crusty bread to soak up the tasty juices.

TIP I’m often asked if you should discard any mussels that don’t open after cooking. In fact, there’s nothing wrong with them, as they’re cooked and should be fine. Once in a while, though, you will find those that don’t open are full of sand and mud, so probably best to throw them out.