Moules Cuites Avec du Fenouil (Baked Mussels with Fennel)
by The Webmaster
Serves: 2-3 people. Preparation time: 20 minutes.
2 doz. Mussels (scrubbed & debearded)
½ C. Dry White Wine
½ C. Finely Chopped Fennel Bulb
½ C. Finely Chopped Shallots
½ C. Dried Breadcrumbs
2 T. Butter
2 t. Pernod (Anise Liquor)
2 T. Minced Fennel Fronds
½ t. Salt
¼ t. Fresh Ground Pepper
1 C. Sea Salt
In a large saucepan, combine the cleaned mussels and half the wine. Cook covered over medium heat until the mussels open (about 3-5 minutes). Remove the lid, turn off the heat and let cool. Discard any mussels that do not open.
Melt the butter in a skillet, add the fennel and shallots and cook 2-3 minutes over medium heat stirring occasionally. Add the Pernod and the remaining wine, and continue cooking another 1-2 minutes allowing the liquid to mostly evaporate. Turn off the heat, stir in the breadcrumbs, fennel fronds, salt and pepper.
Preheat the broiler and position the oven rack about 4 inches below the flames. Open each mussel and discard the empty half shell, retaining the meat in one shell half facing up on a baking sheet covered with the sea salt. Once arranged, spoon a teaspoon of fennel mixture on each mussel. Broil about 3 minutes until lightly browned. Serve with garnish, 8-12 per guest.
Fennel - Fennel is a hardy perennial herb, indigenous to the coastal Mediterranean. It has a similar taste as anise and is one of the ingredients in making the renown Absinthe liquor. The bulb, seeds and foliage of the plant are used in many cultures including India, Pakistan, Iran, the Middle East, as well as French, Spanish, Italian and Greek cuisines. Even herbal tea is made from fennel. It is also used to treat hypertension, water retention and flatulence, all worthy causes!