Even though this recipe only has 5 ingredients, it may stretch your culinary comfort zone a bit. For those of you that have never cooked fresh mussels or bought a fennel bulb before, you are in for a treat. This recipe is super simple - the hardest part was finding really fresh mussels.
Mussels in Fennel Broth
1 large fennel bulb with stalks (In some supermarkets, it is labelled anise)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup dry sherry (or dry vermouth)
1 Tablespoon butter
2 pounds mussels, scrubbed and debearded
Fresh mussels can be stored in the refrigerator for 1 night. Just before you are ready to cook them, scrub the outsides with a stiff bristle brush to remove any debris. Pull out any strings that are attached to the mussel. They should be tightly closed or close when touched. Discard any mussels that do not close.
Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add fennel and garlic and saute 3 minutes. Add 1 cup of water and sherry. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer for 3 minutes. Add mussels, cover and cook 5 minutes longer or until mussels open.
Remove mussels from pan. Discard any unopened shells. Remove pan from heat, add butter and stir until melted. Serve fennel broth over mussels and sprinkle with fronds.
My family really enjoyed this meal. Serve it with a crusty baguette to soak up the flavorful broth.