48 medium to large live mussels
1 shallot, peeled and finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, unpeeled
2/3 cup (150 ml) 1/4 pt white wine
1 quantity mayonnaise
1. Clean the mussels, discarding any which are open, or do not close when tapped, or are cracked.
2. In a large heavy pan, gently stew the shallot and garlic in the wine for 4 or 5 minutes.
3. Turn up the heat, add the cleaned mussels and shake the pan as they steam open.
4. If you are using a small pan, the mussels can be steamed in two or three batches take care to reserve the juices from each batch.
5. When all the mussels are open (this takes just 1 or 2 minutes), remove them from the pan, discarding any that have not opened, and strain the cooking liquid through a sieve lined with muslin.
6. Now boil the strained liquid until considerably reduced, and allow to cool.
7. Pull each shell apart, keeping the mussel on the half-shell. If necessary, use a small knife to release each mussel so that it is easy to eat.
8. Arrange the mussels in concentric circles on a large round tray or platter.
9. Beat 2 or 3 tablespoons of the reduced mussel stock into the mayonnaise, and spoon a little into the round edge of each shell, just covering the end of each mussel.
10. Garnish each shell with a tiny pinch of very finely chopped parsley.