Creamy vermouth, fennel & tarragon mussels

Creamy vermouth, fennel & tarragon mussels

A pop of anise from the caraway seeds and tarragon adds depth to this simple, velvety sauce. Vermouth lends a lovely herbal note, but it’s just as good with white wine. Prefer to keep things alcohol-free? Add a splash of white wine vinegar and up the stock. 

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  • Serves2
  • CourseMain meal
  • Prepare15 mins
  • Cook20 mins
  • Total time35 mins

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  • 1kg fresh mussels
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds
  • 1 bulb/s fennel, finely chopped, fronds reserved
  • 3 clove/s garlic, finely sliced
  • 300ml fresh fish stock
  • 150ml vermouth
  • 4 tbsp Full fat creme fraiche
  • ¼ x 20g pack tarragon, leaves finely chopped, plus extra leaves to serve
  • Crusty bread, to serve


  1. Rinse the mussels under cold running water, then, in a sink or bowl of water, scrub the shells with a scouring pad or scrubbing brush until clean. Pull away the beards attached to the sides and throw away any mussels that are cracked or open. Set the remainder aside in a large bowl of iced water.

  2. Heat the oil in a large, lidded pan over a medium-low heat and add the caraway seeds; toast for 1-2 minutes until fragrant, then stir in the fennel with a pinch of salt. Soften for about 7 minutes, stirring often, then add the garlic and fry for a further 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Add the stock, turn up the heat and bring to the boil.

  3. Once boiling, drain the mussels and tip into the pan along with the vermouth, covering with the lid straight away. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring a couple of times, until the shells have opened wide.

  4. Discard any mussels that haven’t opened, then divide between 2 large warmed serving bowls, leaving any liquid behind in the pan. Stir the crème fraîche into the pan and bubble gently for another 2-3 minutes until reduced slightly. Stir in the tarragon and season, then pour the mixture over the mussels. Scatter over more tarragon and the reserved fennel fronds. Season with freshly ground black pepper and serve with crusty bread to mop up the delicious juices.


Typical values per Per servering (with crusty bread) when made using specific products in recipe


2,914kJ/ 699kcals



Saturated Fat












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5 out of 5 stars1 rating