- Put the olive oil and butter/margarine into a good sized frying pan (with a lid) and then fry, not too quickly, the chopped garlic and shallots.
- When the shallots and garlic are just transparent, (about two minutes), add the water, wine, bay leaf, parsley and mussels.
- Add ground pepper to taste and pour cream over the mussels.
- Cover pan with lid, over moderate to high heat.
- When liquid starts to steam, keep over the heat, constantly shaking the pan until all (or at least most) of the shells open.
- This will only take three, or four minutes.
- Do not overcook and avoid letting the liquid boil.
- You will hear the shells crack open and when most have opened, remove from heat.
- Too much cooking will only make them tough.
- Serve immediately (only the ones that opened) in bowls with plenty of sauce and crisp fresh bread.