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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Mussels and Fennel with Saffron Cream Sauce

Mussels and Fennel with Saffron Cream Sauce

Spring Break has officially started for me (we've been here since Thursday but technically our Spring Break week just started Monday), and Mikey and I are enjoying it with my family down on the west coast of Florida. Naturally, we are spending the majority of our time lazing around at the beach and pool soaking up the rays (which we don't get a lot of back in Seattle), but we did put our lounging on hold for a bit yesterday and went deep sea fishing! 
I've always loved Emeril Lagasse's recipes, but never much cared for his shows- yet I'm still quite sad to see them get cut from Food Network. His shows may not have been that entertaining, but he can still cook a hell of a lot better than most of the schmucks that they have on there now (I'm looking at you two Rachael Ray and Sandra Lee).
I was looking through my Emeril's TV Dinners cookbook a while ago and as soon as I saw this recipe, I knew it had to go on my Florida menu for my mom's sake- she loves mussels. 
The mussels turned out fantastic. It was my first time ever cooking mussels, and to be honest, my first time eating them ha ha. I loved the anise-flavoring that you get from both the fennel and the Herbsaint. And, though as it turns out I, personally, am not that biggest fan of mussels, everyone else said they were the best they had ever had! The sauce is creamy, yet not too heavy paired with the vegetables. The saffron adds in a nice rich flavor. You definitely are going to want some crusty bread on hand to sop up the creamy sauce. It's a perfect dish to enjoy outside on a sunny Florida evening- cool breeze, pink sky, sangria- what more could you ask for?
I served this dish up with a nice big Italian salad (recipe coming tomorrow).

Mussels and Fennel with Saffron Cream Sauce

Mussels and Fennel with Saffron Cream Broth
recipe from here
(I doubled the recipe for 6 people and we had no problem finishing it.)

  • 2 dozen live mussels, scrubbed and de-bearded
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups fennel, julienned (about 1/2 a bulb) (reserve some of the green fronds to garnish)
  • 1 red bell pepper, julienned
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, julienned
  • 1 tbsp shallots, minced
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • 2 ounces Herbsaint (or other anise-flavoured liqueur)
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • pinch saffron
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 tbsp parsley, chopped

  1. Heat the olive oil in a saute pan. When the pan is hot, saute the fennel, peppers, shallots, and garlic for 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Pull the pan away from the heat and flame the Herbsaint. Place back on the heat and add the cream. Stir in the saffron. Pepper and Fennel in Saffron Cream
  3. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Add the mussels and cover. Simmer the mixture for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the mussels open.
  4. Spoon the mixture into shallow bowls and garnish with the chopped parsley and fennel fronds.
Mussels and Fennel with Saffron Cream Sauce


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