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    Steamed Mussels with Fennel and Saffron

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    Steamed Mussels with Fennel and Saffron

    Perfect as a starter for al fresco eating, a huge bowl of mussels served with crusty bread to mop up the juices is an ideal dish to keep your guests busy while the barbecue heats up.

    • Preparation time: 30 minutes
    • Cooking time: 15 minutes
    • Total time: 45 minutes 45 minutes

    Serves: 4

    Ingredients

    • 2 shallots or 1 small onion, finely chopped
    • 1 head fennel, trimmed and finely chopped
    • 25g Anchor butter, melted
    • 200ml white wine
    • Pinch of saffron threads
    • 2kg Waitrose Fresh Scottish Mussels, rope grown
    • 2 tbsp single cream (optional)
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

    Method

    1. Clean and scrub the mussels, removing the beards by pulling them off.
    2. Gently fry the shallots and fennel in the butter for 5-7 minutes until softened and almost transparent.
    3. Add the wine and saffron and boil gently until reduced by almost half.
    4. Add the mussels to the pan and cover. Increase the heat and cook for about 5 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally to redistribute the heat, until all the mussels have opened. Discard any that do not open.
    5. Using a slotted spoon, place the cooked mussels into a warmed dish.
    6. Keep warm while you add the cream (if using) to the remaining juices and check the seasoning. Pour the sauce over the mussels and serve with an extra large bowl for discarded shells.

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    Cook's tips

    Make sure that the mussels you buy are fresh and alive. If they are alive they will close their shells if tapped. Before cooking discard all those that will not close or those with broken or damaged shells. Most of the preparation for this recipe is in the scrubbing of the mussels. This can be done a few hours ahead and they can be stored in a large bowl in the fridge, covered with a clean, damp tea towel.

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