The delicate aniseed flavour of fennel complements mineral-rich mussels in this tasty broth.
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4 tablespoons olive oil
1 fennel bulb, chopped
2 leeks, about 200g (7oz), finely sliced
1 large clove garlic, crushed
300ml (½ pint) medium-dry white wine
300ml (½ pint) fish stock
1kg (2lb 4oz) live mussels
150ml (¼ pint) low-fat crème fraîche
2 tablespoons chopped parsley to serve
Method Prep:15min › Cook:10min › Ready in:25min
Heat the oil in a large saucepan, add the fennel, leeks and garlic and cook over a low heat for 5 minutes until the leeks wilt. Add the wine and stock, remove from the heat and set aside.
Meanwhile, scrub the mussels if necessary, scraping off any barnacles and pulling away the beards. Discard any with damaged shells, and any that do not close when tapped sharply on the edge of the sink.
Bring the wine and vegetable mixture to the boil, then add the mussels. Cook, covered, over a high heat for 3-4 minutes, shaking the pan from time to time, until the shells open.
Using a slotted spoon, remove the opened mussels to a bowl, discarding any that have not opened.
Pick the mussels from the shells, leaving some in for decoration, if desired, and return them to the broth. Heat gently, whisk in the crème fraîche and add black pepper to taste. Transfer to warmed bowls, sprinkle with parsley and serve with homemade soda bread.