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Mussels With Saffron and Sherry

 4 pounds mussels, scrubbed, beards and barnacles removed
 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
 2 tablespoons olive oil (not extra virgin)
 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
 3 to 4 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
 2 garlic cloves
 1 cup amontillado sherry.

1. Fill a sink with cold water and put the mussels in to soak. Put saffron into a  1/4-cup
measuring cup, and fill with steaming-hot water.

2. Place largest pan available (6 quarts or larger) over medium heat, and add oil, onion
and 1 tablespoon of parsley. Sauté gently until onion is softened but not browned, about
5 minutes. Remove pan from heat, and use a fine Microplane grater to grate garlic into pan.
(If a Microplane grater is not available, a garlic press may be used, but the mixture should
be sautéed for 1 more minute.)

3. Transfer mussels to a large colander, sorting through them and discarding any that are
damaged or open.

4. Return the pan to medium heat, and when the onion mixture begins to sizzle, add the
saffron in its water, the sherry and 1 cup hot water. Add the mussels, cover, and raise heat
to high. Bring to a boil and steam until the mussels have opened, 3 to 5 minutes. Discard
any mussels that do not open.

5. Transfer the mussels and pan liquid to one large bowl or two smaller bowls. Sprinkle
with remaining parsley. If desired, serve with crusty bread.