Make this stylish starter when you can buy large mussels, such as the green-lipped mussels from New Zealand, as smaller ones can toughen when grilled. Although you only need 24 mussels for this recipe, buy at least 30 because some might have to be discarded. Serve the mussels with chunks of wholemeal bread.
For French-style mussels in cider, put 1 litre (1¾ pints) dry cider in the pan with the onion and garlic and boil until reduced to 600 ml (1 pint). Stir in the parsley, lemon zest and cayenne pepper. Add the mussels and steam them open. Transfer the mussels to serving bowls. Season the cooking liquid to taste and ladle it over the mussels.
Mussels are a good source of iron, an essential component of haemoglobin in red blood cells responsible for transporting oxygen around the body. * Parmesan cheese is a very hard cheese made from unpasteurised skimmed cow's milk. Although Parmesan has a high fat content, it also has a strong flavour and a little goes a long way in a recipe. * Cayenne pepper, made from one of the smallest and hottest chillies, is often used in herbal medicine to stimulate the circulation.
Excellent source of iron, niacin, vitamin B1, vitamin B6, vitamin B12. Good source of selenium. Useful source of calcium, copper, folate, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin C, zinc.