Mussels with Fennel, Tomatoes, Ouzo & Cream
This has been a hit every time I've made it. Best served with Crusty Bread but a nice clumpy Jasmine rice is what I choose when I'm alone. By clumpy I mean sticky but not "Sticky Rice''.
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 shallots, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 fennel bulb, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 large tomato, cubed
1/2 cup white wine (optional Mushroom or Vegie Broth)
1/4 cup ouzo (optional Pernod or similar)
1/2 cup heavy creme (35%)
4 lbs mussels, cleaned
1/3 cup fresh basil leaves, lightly torn
salt to taste
Heat the olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. I use a deep straight-sided saute pan with a lid. Stir in the shallots and garlic first, cook until tender. Add in the fennel and tomato and continue cooking for about 5 minutes.
Mix your white wine, ouzo and heavy cream into the pan and bring to a boil. Dump in the mussels, 1/2 of the basil and salt.
Cover saucepan and turn down the heat once the sauce has come back to a boil (doesn't take long). Once they start to open give it a quick stir to mix them up. Cover, continue cooking till all the mussels have opened. Only takes about 5 to 10 min.
Garnish with remaining basil to serve.
1. If using white wine be sure to use the heavy creme - it is less liable to 'break'.
2. I really like using the mushroom broth vs the white wine. A little more 'depth' to the over all flavour.
When finished cooking should there be any mussels not open - throw them back in the pan for another 5 min. or so. If after that they still haven't opened throw them out. But I think you'll be surprised that they have opened and they are just fine!
Meddle not in the affairs of dragons for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup.