Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Martin's Mussels in a Fennel Cream Broth

I am lucky that I am surrounded by people that also cook really well and it's really lovely when they cook for me. I just arrived in Copenhagen to teach and I was gifted by a wonderful meal from my partner, Martin, who knows how much I love good seafood. He took me to the amazing seafood market down at the Copenhagen Harbor and bought some mussels and fish that he cooked for me. I just loved how he made the mussels and will definitely make these myself when he's not around to make them for me. They were so good! The salmon was great too, but that's a recipe for another day. Martin made the mussels with shallots, celery and fennel and then added in a good white wine, some cream, parsley and just a hint of lemon. They were so delicious that I simply couldn't top eating them. The broth was light, savory and aromatic and also creamy and soothing. The mussels were plump and sweet and the fennel and celery were lightly crisp. It was wonderful combination of textures. I've had mussels many ways, but this way is now one of my favorites. If you like mussels, you need to try this version!

Martin's Mussels in a Fennel Cream Broth

2 pounds Mussels, rinsed and beards removed

2 Tablespoons Salted Butter
1 large shallot (or 2 small), chopped fine
1 Fennel Bulb, trimmed and cut into slices
3 staks Celery, trimmed and cut into thin slices
2 cups White Wine (he used a Heritages Cote du Rhone)
Grated peel from 1/2 of a lemon
1 teaspoon Sea Salt
1 cup Cream

In a large pot, melt the butter and add in the shallots stirring until they become translucent.  Stir in the white wine and bring to a boil. Put in the mussels and cook for 5 minutes. Take off the heat and add the cream, lemon peel, celery, fennel and parsley. Stir to wilt the parsley and soften the celery and fennel.  Serve in the shell in large bowls with lots of crusty bread to sop up the broth or you can take the mussels out of the shell and make it into more of a soup like I did.

Five Element Analysis

Mussels, being shellfish in their blue-black shells clearly belong to the Water Element so that element is fully represented.  The fennel and celery add the Wood Element, whereas the lemon peel contributes just a hint of the Fire Element but the white wine adds in a lot more. The cream and parsley bring in the Metal Element so this dish is fully balanced in a five element way!

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