I served it up with a crusty baguette and Admony’s recipe for Green Fatoush Salad. It was all so healthy, I didn’t even have to feel guilty. Well, except for that Pecan Pie with vanilla ice cream that I had for dessert….
By the way, while my husband and I ate this as a main course, it could easily make a fabulous first course for more people.
Adapted from Einat Admony’s Ouzo-Drenched Mussels with Fennel as it appeared in the Wall Street Journal
Yield: 2 main course servings or 4 servings as a first course
4 garlic cloves thinly sliced or 2 teaspoons finely chopped
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
2 Tablespoons EVOO
1 cup chopped or thinly sliced shallots
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced lengthwise
1/2 of a large fennel bulb cored and thinly sliced
2 Tablespoons chopped fennel fronds
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes or more to taste
Sea Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme (I like lemon thyme if I can get it. In fact I like it so much that I am now growing it on my windowsill to ensure supply.)
1/2 cup Ouzo
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 pounds of mussels, cleaned and debearded (ask your fish monger to do this)
2 Tablespoons chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley
- In a large, lidded pot over low heat, sauté garlic in butter and oil until aromatic, about 2 minutes. Increase heat to medium, add shallots and sauté until translucent, about 4 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, sliced fennel, chili flakes, thyme and pinches of salt and pepper, and sauté until vegetables soften, about 2-3 minutes.
- Pour ouzo and wine into pot and simmer until alcohol cooks off, about 4 minutes. Stir in mussels. Quickly cover pot with lid and steam mussels until they open, about 8 minutes. Turn off the heat, toss in parsley and fennel fronds.
- Gently toss mussels to coat in pan drippings. Serve immediately with good crusty bread. (And be sure to soak up all of that wonderful pot liquor with the bread – it’s the best part! A little briny and full of fennel, shallots and fresh herbs.) If any mussels don’t open on their own – toss them! In 2 pounds of mussels, we had only one that didn’t open. If you have more than 2 – complain to your fish monger.