Full of flavour and a wonderful creamy stock. Make sure your fishmonger gets you fresh mussels which have been cleaned and ready for use. Even the supermarket fish counters will do this for you.
This will comfortably serve four people, an ideal recipe for a dinner party.
1 tablespoon of olive oil
3 banana shallots, very finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, very finely chopped
1 bulb of fennel, trimmed, cored and very thinly sliced
2 medium tomatoes, deseeded and finely cubed
120ml of white wine (remember, if its not good enough to drink, don’t cook with it!)
60ml of Pernod (Ricard or Ouzo would work well)
120ml of double cream
4 pounds (just under 2kg) of fresh mussels, cleaned (ask your fishmonger to do this)
2 tablespoons of fresh basil leaves, rolled up and finely sliced
Sea salt to season.
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium a heat. Stir in the chopped shallots and garlic, and cook until tender. They should be translucent when done, but not browned!
Stir in the sliced fennel and tomato, and continue cooking about 5 minutes.
Mix the white wine, Pernod, and double cream into the saucepan, and bring to a boil. Gradually stir in the mussels, half of the basil, and salt (about a level teaspoon).
Cover the saucepan, shake it well and continue cooking for about five minutes, shaking halfway through, until the mussels have opened.
Transfer the mussels to serving bowls with a slotted spoon and pour of the cooking juices. Garnish with the remaining sliced basil and serve with a good chunk of fresh bread to mop up those tasty cooking juices.