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This is a variation on a Belgian classic using fresh fennel and crushed fennel seeds instead of leeks and celery.
Type of dish: Soups, Entree
Equipment: Large stainless steel pot with lid
Servings: Serves 2
- 2 lbs mussels, scrubbed and sorted
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 4 cups fish stock (court bouillon – see recipe below)
- 2/3 cup crème fraîche
- 1 large Florence fennel (Finocchio), thinly sliced; reserve sprigs for garnish
- 2 tsp fennel seeds, coarsely crushed
- 1 garlic clove, finely minced
- Salt/white pepper to taste
The Court Bouillon:
- 2 – 3 lbs fish bones, preferably from white fleshed fish (cod, flounder, etc. are ideal). Avoid using oily fish such as salmon
- 1 whole, peeled onion, studded with 3 cloves
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 small bunch fresh thyme or 2 tsp dried thyme
- 1 large carrot, peeled and cut into thick slices
- 1 small bunch fresh parsley
- 2 celery stalks, chopped, or a hand-full of celery leaves (optional)
- 2 TB apple cider vinegar
- 5 qts water
- 5 whole black peppercorns
- Note: don’t add salt
- Scrub mussel shells clean and remove the “beard”, discarding any mussels that won’t close when squeezed.
- Add mussels, white wine, fish stock, fennel seeds, and garlic to the pot, cover, and bring to a gentle boil for 5 min.
- Strain off the liquid, and discard any mussels that aren’t open.
- Bring liquid to a slow boil, add fennel, and crème fraîche, and simmer until the fennel is soft, about 15 min.
- Add salt/white pepper to taste, return mussels to liquid, and warm through.
- Serve in soup bowls garnished with fennel sprigs.
The Court Bouillon:
- Place all ingredients in the stock pot, and add water to cover.
- Bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer for 45 min.
- If desired, the stock can be left to simmer uncovered, reducing the liquid, and concentrating the flavors. This is the reason why salt isn’t added.
- Strain through sieve.
- The stock can then be portioned and frozen for future use.
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