My family loves seafood. It’s always on my weekly menu list. If my son will have it his way, we probably will have salmon and swordfish steaks all the time. My husband’s favourite is the linguine with prawns, garlic and chilli. Mine is seafood marinara pasta. Then there’s the ginger-based mussel soup the three of us like. I have cooked fish steaks and prawns in countless ways and the seafood marinara mix, I make coconut seafood curry with the mix. But with the mussels, it was always the Asian style ginger-based soup. Nothing wrong with that because it is nice actually but for a change, the other night I made something different. Mussels with fennel and cooked in wine and tomato-based sauce.
The highly aromatic and flavourful fennel bulb surely made this mussels soup interesting, for us anyway, a good change from the ginger-based recipe I always make. And while slicing the bulb, I was really enjoying sniffing the liquorice-like aroma in the kitchen air. Fennel, by the way smells and tastes like anise and both have seeds that are (digestive) after-meals in India and Pakistan. Interesting huh?Ingredients
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 large onions, thinly sliced
- 1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
- 2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 350 ml dry white wine
- 100 ml fino sherry
- 400 g canned tomatoes
- pinch of sugar
- 1-1/2 kg live mussels
- handful of chopped fresh parsley
- salt and pepper
- crusty bread to serve
1. Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan or stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the onions and fennel and cook, stirring for 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring for further 2 minutes, or until the onions and fennel are soft but not brown.
2. Add the wine and sherry and leave to bubble until reduced by half. Add the tomatoes with their juices and bring to the boil, stirring. Add the sugar, salt and pepper to taste, reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, clean the mussels by scrubbing or scraping the shells and pulling out any beards that are attached to them. Discard any with broken shells or any that refused to close when tapped.
4. Reduce the heat under the saucepan to very low. Add the mussels, cover and simmer, shaking the saucepan often, for about 4 minutes until the mussels are opened. Discard any mussels that remain closed.
5. Remove the remaining mussels from the saucepan and divide between serving bowls. Re-cover the saucepan and simmer for a further minute. Stir the parsley into the juices in the saucepan. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Pour juices over the bowls of mussels.Serve it immediately with plenty of bread for mopping up the juices.Recipe from the cookbook 30 Minutes or Less (Fresh Food)