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Mussels in Red Wine

Red wine makes an unusual, but very pleasant, combination with seafood. This recipe is equally good with clams or cockles.

ingredients

serves 4
1.5 kg (3 lb) mussels, well scrubbed
280 ml (1/2 pint) dry red wine
90 ml (6 tbsps) olive oil
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 bay leaves
30 ml (2 tbsps) fresh thyme, chopped
90 ml (6 tbsps) red wine vinegar
5 ml (1 tsp) paprika
Grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper
Pinch cayenne pepper
Pinch sugar (optional)
Chopped parsley

method

1. Prepare the mussels as in the recipe for Paella. Place the wine in a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the mussels, cover the pan and cook briskly for about 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the shells open. Discard any that do not open.

2. Transfer the mussels to a bowl and pour the cooking liquid through a fine strainer and reserve it.

3. In a clean saucepan, heat the oil and fry the garlic over gentle heat until golden brown. Add the bay leaves, thyme, vinegar, paprika, lemon juice and rind, salt, pepper and cayenne pepper. Pour on the wine, add sugar, if using, and bring to the boil. Cook to reduce to about 180 ml (6 fl oz). Allow to cool completely.

4. Remove the mussels from their shells and add them to the liquid, stirring to coat all the mussels. Cover and place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. Allow to stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with parsley.

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