Brendan Kinney is VPR's vice president for development and marketing.
A few years ago, we unearthed a friend’s old-fashioned cider press and got a little carried away. After squeezing out 15 gallons of the sweet stuff, we decided to set aside five gallons and try our hand at making hard cider. After months of waiting, obsessively leafing through a copy of Annie Proulx’s “Cider: Making, Using & Enjoying Sweet & Hard Cider,” and suffering through a major basement spill, we had our first batch. Since then, I’ve decided that authentic hard cider is an acquired taste, but can be a versatile ingredient in the kitchen.
2 lbs fresh live mussels
2 cloves chopped garlic
1 finely chopped onion
5 fl. oz. dry hard cider
2 oz. butter
1 large handful finely chopped parsley
4 Tbsp. cream
Salt and pepper
Clean and rinse the mussels.
In a large saucepan, melt butter, add chopped onion and garlic. Cook for three minutes on medium heat.
Pour the hard cider into the saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring occasionally.
Add the mussels and cover with a lid. Cook on high for three minutes, shaking the pan occasionally to ensure the mussels are evenly cooked.
Remove the mussels as they open and discard any that remain closed.
Boil the remaining liquid in the pan until it reduces to half and finally stir in the cream and parsley. Add salt and/or pepper to taste.
Transfer the mussels to a large bowl and pour the sauce over the mussels. Serve immediately. Enjoy as an appetizer or with angel hair pasta.