Cornish mussels with bacon, cider and wild garlic

Preparation time
less than 30 mins

Cooking time
10 to 30 mins

Serves 4

By Emily Scott
From Saturday Kitchen


  • 1kg/2lb 4oz mussels, preferably Cornish, scrubbed and debearded
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 rashers smoked bacon, cut into lardons
  • 200ml/7fl oz Cornish cider
  • 1 shallot, peeled and halved
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 small bunch thyme
  • 4 peppercorns
  • 25g/1oz unsalted butter
  • 1 leek, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 4 tbsp chopped fresh flatleaf parsley
  • 4 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon
  • 225g/8oz clotted cream
  • 150g/5½oz wild garlic, roughly chopped (or baby spinach)
  • 1 sourdough loaf or ciabatta, thickly sliced
  • 1 garlic clove
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • wild garlic flowers, to garnish (optional)


  1. Wash the mussels under cold water. Discard any mussels with broken shells and any that refuse to close when tapped.

  2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Fry the lardons until crispy and then set aside.

  3. Pour the cider into the pan, add the shallot, bay, thyme and peppercorns and bring to a simmer. Tip the mussels into the pan and cook with the lid on for 4–5 minutes. Give the pan a good shake to distribute the mussels around and allow them to open. Remove the lid and tip the mussels into a colander over a bowl to catch the delicious cider stock. Discard any mussels that remain closed.

  4. Give the pan a wipe out, then melt the butter in the pan. Add the leeks and fry gently. Strain the cider stock, add to the leeks and cook until reduced. Add the clotted cream, simmer for 1–2 minutes and then add half of the lardons and half the parsley and tarragon. Stir gently and season with salt and pepper.

  5. Return the mussels to the pan and add the wild garlic. Allow to wilt and then ladle the mussels into warm bowls or one big serving bowl. Toast the sourdough slices and rub with the garlic clove. Garnish the mussels with the remaining lardons, parsley, tarragon and wild garlic flowers. Serve immediately with the garlic toast.

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