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Mussels with White Wine and Herbs

4 tb Unsalted butter
4 Shallots; minced
2 Garlic cloves; minced
2 Sprigs fresh thyme
2 Bay leaves
2 c Dry white wine
4 lb Mussels - (abt 48 ea); see Note
1/2 c Chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 tb Crème fraiche or sour cream

* Note: When purchasing mussels, choose those with uncracked, firmly closed shells. Before steaming, scrub the shells well with a vegetable brush to remove sand; debeard the mollusk. Fresh mussels can be stored in the refrigerator, covered with a damp cloth, for one to two days; do not store the mussels immersed in water or they will drown. Melt the butter in a Dutch oven set over medium heat. Add the shallots and the garlic; cook until transparent, about 3 minutes. Add the thyme, bay leaves, and wine. Bring mixture to a boil over high heat. Add mussels, and cover. Cook, shaking pan often, until mussels open, 5 to 6 minutes. Discard any mussels that fail to open. Using a slotted spoon, transfer mussels to a large bowl, reserving liquid in pan. Sprinkle 1/4 cup parsley over the mussels. Remove and discard bay leaves and thyme. Return liquid to low heat; stir in creme fraiche and remaining 1/4 cup parsley. Cook just until warm again, and pour over mussels. Serve. Serves 4 to 6.

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