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Mussels Luxembourg-style
For 4 persons

3-4 kilos cleaned mussels
2 leeks
1 carrot
1 large stick of celery and some celery leaf
1 onion
1-2 shallots
a bunch of parsley
5 bulbs of garlic
1/2 bottle Riesling
150 grams butter
pepper
salt
a sprig of thyme
2 tarragon leaves

Take each mussel individually, and make absolutely certain that
its shell is tightly closed. Remove any algae and clean the shells
of any impurity with a short sharp knife. Put the cleaned mussels
in a bowl of water. Throw away any which do not pass the test.
Press the mussels and rub the two sides of the shell together in
a light scissors movement. A healthy mussel will close again by
itself. Any other should be discarded, as should any about which
you are in any way doubtful. Wash the mussels thoroughly by rubbing
them vigorously together. Change the water 2 to 3 times. There is
another manner of testing the mussels if you are still not sure.
Place the mussels in cold salt water. A living mussel will open
slightly and sink to the bottom. After two hours throw away any
which are still on the surface.

Clean all the vegetables, except the garlic, and chop them very
finely. Allow the butter to reach room temperature so that it is
soft. Lightly fry the onion and shallots in 50 grams of butter in
a large pot, and add all the chopped vegetables and the thyme and
tarragon, also finely chopped. Pour in 1/4 bottle of Riesling, and
allow to simmer for a quarter of an hour. During this time crush
the garlic and mix with the remaining 100 grams of butter. To this
add a little freshly milled pepper. Put the pot on a very high
heat, and drop the mussels into the boiling contents, pouring in
the rest of the wine. Cover firmly. Every two minutes stir with
a circular movement to make sure the mussels do not remain at the
bottom of the pot. After ten minutes almost all the mussels should
have opened. Now put the garlic butter in the pot. In two to three
minutes, with regular stirring, the sauce should have mixed
thoroughly. Sprinkle with freshly chopped parsley and serve
immediately. Crisp pommes frites should be served with mussels,
and an outstanding Riesling. Luxembourg's Belgian neighbors often
drink a cold beer with their mussels.

Note: Mussels as well as pommes frites are best eaten with the
fingers. Do not forget to place an empty bowl on the table for the
discarded shells. Experienced mussel-eaters slide the empty shells
into one another. This takes up less space, and no one can tell
that he has alone eaten two or three kilos!.

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