Preparation time 8 minutes
Cooking time 30–35 minutes
6 lean back bacon rashers, chopped
2 shallots, sliced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
250 ml (8 fl oz) white wine
400 g (13 oz) can chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon chopped thyme, plus extra sprigs to garnish
2 kg (4 lb) live mussels, scrubbed and debearded (discard any that don’t shut
2–3 tablespoons half-fat crème fraîche (optional)
salt and pepper
Heat a very large, heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat, then add the
bacon and dry-fry for 3–4 minutes or until beginning to colour. If the bacon is
very lean, fry in 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the shallots and garlic and fry for 2–
3 minutes or until softened.
Stir in the white wine, tomatoes and thyme and season with salt and pepper to
taste. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until
the sauce has thickened.
Add the mussels and stir to coat, then cover with a tight-fitting lid and cook for
4–5 minutes, or until the mussels have opened, stirring once. Discard any that
Stir in the crème fraîche, if using, and serve in deep bowls garnished with thyme
For traditional moules marinières, omit the bacon and cook the shallots and
garlic in a knob of butter. Pour in the white wine, or replace with 250 ml (8 fl oz)
dry cider, and then add the mussels. Cook as above. Stir in the crème fraîche and scatter with chopped parsley to serve.