I love, love, love mussels. I had them for the first time maybe 5 years ago and I've had them at least once every few months since then. They can be made in so many different ways with minimal ingredients (here is another version I made a few years ago), and can produce a good dinner or large appetizer in a matter of about ten minutes. That is my kind of recipe these days...
This particular recipe is from Sweet Paul's cookbook, Eat & Make. I swear that is a good cookbook. So many easy and delicious recipes... I was intrigued by this particular recipe because it included fennel. I have shied away from cooking with fennel before because of its so-called licorice flavor (when raw). However, when the fennel is cooked, it produces this sweet, very mild onion flavor that perfectly flavors the broth that this dish creates. I like my broth to be spicy, so I added some red pepper flakes to liven it up. The only other thing that makes this dish perfection are a few slices of toasted, buttered, quality, fresh bread from a bakery. The toasted bread explodes with flavor once it is dipped in the broth. Pure heaven in my book...
Here is what you need and what to do: (serves 4)
4 lbs mussels
2 tablespoons butter
4 large shallots, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
2 cups dry white wine (I used a Sauvignon Blanc)
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1. Add the mussels to a colander. Scrub and rinse the mussels. Discard any mussels that are broken or open and won't close when you press it together.
2. Melt the butter in a large pot or 10 in skillet with high sides set over medium-high heat. Then add the shallots, garlic, fennel, and red pepper flakes. Saute them until soft, about 5-7 minutes.
3. Add the mussels and wine to the pot. Stir to combine them with the other ingredients and cover. Cook until all of the mussels are open - about 5-7 minutes. Discard any mussels that don't open. Stir in the parsley.
4. Pour the mussels into a serving dish. Serve immediately with a side of toasted, buttered bread.
Images by me