3 quarts mussels in the shell (about 4 pounds)
3 garlic cloves, minced
6 shallots or green onions, chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup dry white wine
1/3 cup minced parsley
Freshly ground black pepper
Soak the mussels for 30 minutes in salted water. Scrub the mussels well under cold running water with a stiff brush. In a large soup kettle, saute the garlic and shallots in oil until soft, stirring. Add wine, parsley, and pepper, and bring to a boil. Add the mussels, cover, and simmer gently until the shells open, about 8 minutes; discard any that do not open. Spoon the mussels into soup bowls and ladle the broth over them. Pass the butter, if desired, for dipping the mussels.