2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1/4 cup shallots or onion -- finely chopped
1 clove garlic -- minced
1 teaspoon fresh thyme -- finely chopped
1 teaspoon orange or lemon rind -- finely grated
1 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup water
1. Scrub mussels with a brush; rinse well. Remove beards (see Note). Check mussels for edibility; live ones will have tightly closed shells or will close their shells when tapped. Discard any that remain open.
2. In a large microwave-proof bowl, microwave butter on 100% power until it melts, about 40 seconds. Add shallots and garlic. Microwave on 100% power 45 seconds.
3. Add thyme, orange rind, wine, and the water. Cover and microwave on 100% power until liquid boils, about 5 to 6 minutes.
4. Add mussels. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Microwave at 100% power until mussels open, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir mussels with a large spoon after 2 minutes.
5. Use a slotted spoon to remove mussels to individual shallow bowls. Discard any that do not open.
6. If broth is sandy, strain through several layers of cheesecloth. Pour over cooked mussels and serve.
Note: Mussels anchor themselves to rocks and pilings with a bundle of tough fibers called beards. Debeard them by grasping the fibers and removing them with a tug.