9leeks, trimmed, white parts only12black mussels, scrubbed, beards removed2 tbspdry apera or Sherry100 gmunsalted butter, coarsely chopped2 tbspblanched almonds, coarsely chopped2 tsplemon juice
Wash leeks thoroughly under cold running water, then steam in a steamer placed over a saucepan of boiling water until just tender (8 minutes). Refresh, drain and dry well on absorbent paper, then slice into 1cm-thick rounds and set aside.
Heat a saucepan over medium-high heat, add mussels and apera, cover with a tight-fitting lid and cook until mussels begin to open (2 minutes; remove mussels from pan as they open). Remove mussels from shells, transfer to a small container, strain cooking liquid over and refrigerate until required.
Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until foaming, add almonds and stir continuously until golden (1-2 minutes). Strain through a metal sieve into a heatproof bowl, return butter to pan, add lemon juice and season to taste.
Divide leeks among serving plates, season to taste with sea salt. Place 2 mussels on each plate along with a little cooking liquid, scatter with toasted almonds (optional), drizzle with butter sauce and serve.
This recipe is from the September 2012 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.