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What you’ll need:

24 large mussels, scrubbed and de-bearded

¼ cup chopped shallots

1-2 T. chopped garlic

1½ cups dry white wine

1 T. each of dry thyme, parsley, peppercorns

1 large bay leaf

1 T. white wine vinegar

2 medium avocados, halved

1 large red chili, chopped

2 T. fresh lime juice

3 T. creme fraiche

Mussels with Avocado-Chili Cream

By Chef Stephen Sands

Serves 4

Here’s how:

1. Clean the mussels well, removing the “beard.” Place the next 6 ingredients in a pot, bring to a boil, and reduce by half. Add the mussels, cover and cook for about 3-4 minutes until they have opened. (Discard any that do not open.) Strain the liquid through a fine chinois, reserving ½-cup of the broth.

2. Place the avocado, chili, and lime juice in a food processor and process until smooth and creamy. Add enough of the reserved liquid from the mussels to make the puree. Pass through a fine sieve. Blend in the creme fraiche, and season with salt and pepper.

3. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the mussels to a large bowl to cool. With a paring knife, remove the mussels from the shells, reserving half of the shell for each. Place the mussels back into the shells and transfer to a baking sheet. Drop a generous dollop of the avocado-chili cream atop of each.

4. Arrange on each plate, and serve.

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