About this recipe:This is an amazing soup to serve as a springtime starter. One recommendation is to keep the cooking time down - don't overdo it! The soup goes from a wonderful light, bright green to a very dull green if overcooked. Enjoy!
3 whole artichokes
1 fennel, trimmed and diced
1 onion, chopped
120ml double cream
2 litres water, or to cover
salt and pepper to taste
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
450g mussels, cleaned and debearded
125ml dry white wine
1 lemon, juiced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
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Method Prep:40min › Cook:25min › Ready in:1hr5min
Clean the fresh artichokes so that only the hearts and a bit of the stems remain by slowly peeling back the leaves, one by one. Once you've reached the 'heart', cut away any remaining green from the leaves and also cut away any of the 'hair' in the centre.
Chop the hearts and stems and place them in a large saucepan over low heat with the fennel and onion. Add the cream, just enough water to cover all, and salt and pepper to taste. Let this simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until tender.
Meanwhile, rinse and de-beard the mussels. In a separate large saucepan over medium low heat, sweat the garlic in the butter or margarine for 30 seconds. Add the cleaned mussels and the wine, cover and let simmer for 5 minutes. Remove the mussels and reserve the liquid. (Note: Be careful not to brown the garlic.)
Transfer the artichoke mixture to a blender and puree until smooth. Add the lemon juice and reserved mussel liquid, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Strain this mixture through a fine mesh sieve and top each serving with some mussels. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley.
To clean an artichoke...
With a paring knife, cut a bit of the stem off the bottom and then start snapping off the leaves one by one. When you've reached the centre, or 'heart', cut off any leaves at the top along with any fuzzy hairs in the centre. Carefully cut away any of the dark green leftover from the leaves and at the base of the stem, so only light green flesh remains. Cut the artichoke in half and then place in a bowl of water and lemon juice; this prevents the artichokes from discolouring whilst you work!