To clean the mussels, rinse them thoroughly under cold running water and discard any with cracked shells or ones that don’t close when gently tapped on the counter. Remove the beard (the stringy stuff that is attached between the shells) as well as any barnacles that have grown on the shell itself. Leave the cleaned mussels in a large colander set inside a large bowl. Cover with a damp paper towel and keep in the fridge until ready to cook.
In a large heavy pot (I like to use my Le Creuset pot) melt the butter over medium high heat. Once melted, add the shallots and garlic and sweat for about five minutes. Turn up the heat and add the mussels and white wine. Cover the pot with a lid or foil so that the steam from the wine can cook the mussels. Leave to cook for about 5 minutes, shaking the pot occasionally to help ensure all the mussels cook and open up.
Once you see lots of little orange mussels looking at you when you open the lid, you know the mussels are done. Discard any that haven’t opened. With a large slotted spoon, transfer the cooked mussels to a large clean bowl and cover with foil.
Turn the heat down to medium and reduce the liquid in the heavy pot for a couple of minutes. While stirring, add the cream and continue to stir until completely incorporated. Add the cooked mussels back to the pot and stir to make sure you coat all of them in the cream sauce. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley. Enjoy immediately. I find this is the perfect dish to take to the table in the pot and then serve to guests from there. Serve with lots of crusty bread and beer or white wine.
Another great variation on this mussels dish is to add some curry powder to the sauce at the same time you add the cream. You end up with a kind of quick curry cream sauce and it is delicious.