Mussels with cider and pancetta recipe | Angela Hartnett

In my early days in the catering industry I used to work in this fantastic pub called The Free Press in Cambridge. It's run by a fab couple called Debbie and Chris, and we served mussels once a week (I became extremely quick at cleaning them). We served them the classic way, with white wine, which I have substituted here with cider. It is sweeter and goes beautifully with pancetta.

Or, if you have any salami trimmings, just dice them and toss them in at the end. You can even add some sliced apple to the dish. Whichever way, it's delicious.

Serve with bread to mop up the juices or, if you feel the need, pommes frites or chips.

(Serves two as a main, four as a starter)
500g mussels
1 small onion
2 cloves of garlic
3 tbsp olive oil
2 sprigs of thyme
100g diced pancetta
250ml of apple cider
1 tbsp chopped, flat-leaf parsley

Clean the mussels, removing any beards, and leave in cold water. Then, finely chop the onion and garlic.

Heat the olive oil in a deep pan with a lid. Add the onion, garlic and thyme, followed by the pancetta and sweat for two minutes. Then drop the mussels in and cook for two minutes. Add the cider and immediately cover with the lid. Shake the pan and cook for about five minutes until the mussels start to open. Finish with freshly chopped parsley.

Serve immediately, discarding any mussels that have not opened.

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