Light and healthy seafood, gently simmered in wine and flavoured with herbs, gives a wonderful suggestion of long afternoons at the seaside.
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1 kg (2 lb 4 oz) live mussels
1 clove garlic, unpeeled
1 sprig of fresh parsley
1 shallot, roughly chopped
1 small sprig of fresh thyme
150 ml (5 fl oz) dry white wine
300 ml (10 fl oz) skimmed milk
30 g (1¼ oz) 70 per cent fat spread
30 g (1¼ oz) plain white flour
450 ml (16 fl oz) fish stock
1 small lemon
150 g (5½ oz) fresh white crabmeat, or canned crabmeat, drained
200 g (7 oz) peeled cooked prawns, defrosted if frozen
2-3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill
60 g (2¼ oz) virtually fat-free fromage frais
To garnish: sprigs of fresh dill and thin strips of lemon zest
Method Prep:30min › Cook:20min › Ready in:50min
Scrub and debeard the mussels and rinse them thoroughly. Discard any open mussels that do not close when tapped, and any with broken shells. Then put them into a large saucepan with the garlic, parsley, shallot, thyme and wine, and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Place over a very high heat and cook for 6-8 minutes until the mussels have opened, shaking the pan frequently. Do not overcook the mussels or they will become tough.
Meanwhile, place a large colander over a mixing bowl and line it with kitchen paper.
Pour the cooked mussels into the prepared colander and leave them to drain and cool slightly. Then remove the mussels from their shells, discarding any that have not opened, and put them into a small bowl. Pour the mussel liquid into a measuring jug and make it up to 600 ml (1 pint) with the milk.
Melt the spread in a large saucepan, stir in the flour, then gradually stir in the milky mussel liquid. Add the fish stock and bring to the boil, stirring continuously, then reduce the heat and allow to simmer for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, pare the zest from the lemon into thin strips or finely grate it, and squeeze out the juice. Reserve half the zest for a garnish.
Flake the crabmeat and add it to the soup with the lemon juice and zest, the mussels and the prawns. Season with pepper (because the mussel liquid will be naturally salty, you should not need to add salt), then heat it through gently for 3-4 minutes. Do not boil or the seafood will toughen.
Stir the dill and fromage frais into the soup and ladle it into bowls. Garnish it with sprigs of dill and strips of lemon zest and serve the soup on its own as a starter, or with crusty bread and a salad for a light meal.