Main Meals

Mussels in creamy fennel sauce

15–20 minutes
35 minutes
Wine/Spirit Pairing
Warwick Chardonnay 2012

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  • 500 g fresh mussels
  • 1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 T butter
  • 1⁄2 cup dry white wine
  • 1⁄2 cup fish stock
  • 1⁄4 cup cream
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Soak the mussels in cold water, then remove the beards and scrape clean using a small, sharp knife. Gently cook the fennel and garlic in the olive oil and butter for 10–15 minutes until very soft and pale.

Pour in the wine and bring to a boil. Add the mussels – check that they are tightly closed. Cover and steam over a high heat for a few minutes until the liquor releases into the sauce and all the mussels have opened. Remove the mussels. Discard any that do not open.

Pour in the stock and cream and simmer briskly for a few minutes until slightly reduced. Season to taste. Return the mussels to the sauce and heat through if necessary. Sprinkle with chives and serve in bowls with crusty bread.

Chef's note: “Mussels aren’t too much trouble to clean and they make a practically instant gourmet meal.”

Phillippa Cheifitz

Recipe by: Phillippa Cheifitz

Regular TASTE contributor Phillippa is a well-known South African author and food writer, and has won many awards, both for her magazine features and her cookbooks.

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