Other suitable shellfish for this recipe: cholgas, scallops, machas, clams
With a stiff brush the mussels pulling off the “beard” from between the shells. Wash in 2 or 3 changes of water. In a large, heavy skillet melt the butter and add the onion, celery, garlic, bay leaf, thyme and parsley. Cover the skillet and simmer for 5 minutes or more until the vegetables are soft. Add the mussels, pepper, water, and wine (you may use 2 cups of wine instead of water if you prefer). Cover and cook on a medium high heat for 8-10 minutes. The mussels should have opened. Throw out those that didn’t open. Keep the mussels in the half shell and put them in a deep serving dish. Keep warm.
Boil the wine-broth sauce for 2-3- minutes until it is reduced a little, taste and add salt if necessary. Pour this sauce over the mussels in a dish.
Serve hot and sprinkle with chopped parsley. Eat the mussels using the shells to scoop up the sauce or serve with long French loaves (baguette).