Succulent and sweet … and one of the quickest shellfish preparations.
A few days ago I wrote about my embarrassing moment at the local farmer’s market and how I ended up having to buy fennel for the rest of the year. If you haven’t found time to read it, here it is – Give fennel a chance with this recipe.
When I first tried to cook mussels – following an old-fashioned recipe from the Internet – steamed mussels in a white wine, onions and parsley sauce, I realized that the most promised part, sweetness was kind of missing.
So having still a great amount of fennel and some sparkling wine left, I decided to simply twist the recipe. The ingredients list is quite short. All you need is high quality mussels, sweet red onions, in-season fennel, lemon and a mild sweet sparkling wine. The finishing touches to the dish are some whole wheat spaghetti, ginger & cherry tomato sauce with fresh coriander to balances the flavors.
If they aren’t firmly closed or they don’t close when tapped, then please don’t buy them or you risk getting sick.
- 1kg (about 2lbs) mussels, cleaned and debarred
- ½ package of whole wheat spaghetti
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 fennel, sliced
- 2 onions, coarsely chopped
- 2 cups sparking white wine
- fresh juice from 1 lemon
- 6 cherry tomatoes
- fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
- a handful of fresh coriander
- sea salt and pepper to taste
- First off, cook the whole wheat spaghetti according to the package instructions.
- Meanwhile, wash the mussels and fennel very well and start by slicing the fennel. Take the hefty bulb of fennel and trim it down into bite-sized pieces.
- Then melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and let them cook, stirring often, until brown-ish, 2 minutes. Stir in the fennel and season with salt and pepper. Sauté fennel until it begins to soften, 2 minutes.
- Quickly pour in the sparkling wine into the saucepan and fresh lemon juice. Bring sauce to a boil, add the mussels and cover. Turn the heat up to high and let them cook until all shells are open, approximately 10 minutes. Discard any mussels that haven’t opened and remove from heat. Stir in more lemon zest.
- Do not try to force open and eat any mussels that have remained closed. Again, you may risk getting sick if you do so.
- For the spaghetti sauce, blend the cherry tomatoes with a little ginger and 1 small onion in a food processor/ blender.
- After the spaghetti is cooked, drain and serve them on the plate. Add some mussels on top, pour the sauce over it and drizzle with fresh oregano. Et Voilà - Sweet Drunk Mussels à la Cris! :)
Get creative, use the ingredients you have on hand and stay healthy! Make sure you only "cook it fit".