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Tip the mussels into the sink or a large bowl of cold water. Swish them around with your hands to wash them thoroughly. Use a small sharp knife to scrape off any barnacles attached to the shells. Discard any mussels with broken shells.
Pull off the beards using the knife to help you – they just need a good tug. The beard is the brown wispy bit hanging out of the join in the shells. Not all mussels will have beards.
If any mussels are open, tap them sharply against the side of the sink, worktop or with a knife. If they don’t close, discard them – they are dead and not edible.
Rinse the mussels again in fresh cold water to remove any bits of shell or barnacle, and drain in a colander. Tip the mussels into a large pan, then add the wine and chopped shallot. The pan should not be more than half full – the mussels need plenty of space to move around so that they cook thoroughly.
Set the pan over a high heat and cover tightly with a lid. When the pan starts to steam, cook the mussels for 3-4 mins, shaking the pan from time to time to ensure they cook evenly. They are cooked when the shells have opened. Mussels that have not opened are fine to eat if they can be easily opened.
Remove the pan from the heat to stop the mussels cooking any further. Sprinkle with chopped parsley, then spoon them into warmed bowls and pour over the pan juices.