Mussels with Shaved Fennel and Saffron
Number of Servings: 10
5 lbs (2.5 kg) fresh PEI Mussels
1 fennel bulb, diced and trimmed
2 Tbsp (30 mL) butter
1 Tbsp (15 mL) olive oil
1 onion, finely sliced
3 clove garlic, finely sliced
1 pinch saffron strands
1 bay leaf
sea salt flakes and cracked pepper, to taste
1 cup (250 mL) white wine
1 lemon, zest and juice
1 loaf crusty bread, to sop up juices
Notes: *Saffron are the stamens of the crocus sativus flower. They are expensive, but a little go a long way. If not available, substitute a pinch of turmeric.
- Rinse fresh PEI Mussels under tap water. Tap any mussels that are still open and discard any that do not close after being tapped and rinsed. Set aside.
- Trim stalks from fennel and using a vegetable peeler, remove blemishes from outer layer. Reserve fennel fronds for garnish. Finely slice fennel into thin strands - this can be done with a mandolin or a knife.
- Melt 1 Tbsp of the butter and olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pan.
- Add fennel, onion, garlic and sauté over medium low heat for about 10 minutes, until soft.
- Stir in saffron, bay leaf, sea salt and pepper to taste. Turn up the heat to medium high.
- Add wine and remaining butter; stir, then add the mussels. Cover and leave to steam for 5 minutes, or until mussels have opened.
- Discard any mussels that do not open.
- Toss everything together with lemon zest and juice.
- Transfer mussels to individual plates or a serving dish. Top with reserved fennel fronds.