Mussels a la Lisa
I’ve been making this mussel recipe for years. It was originally given to me by my sister who said she had them at a restaurant. They were so fantastic, she had asked the chef for the recipe. It still exists on the same crumpled napkin – a simple list of ingredients without amounts. Grab a loaf of whole grain crusty bread and get ready for a heavenly sauce.
Mussels a la Lisa
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 3 shallots finely minced
- 4 cloves of garlic, finely minced or pressed
- 3 stalks celery (I prefer the hearts), diced
- 1 fennel bulb, sliced into strips (save fronds for garnish)
- 1 cup white wine (choose a dry chardonnay)
- 8-10 cherry tomatoes, halved
- 10 fennel seeds
- Handful of chopped basil leaves
- 1tbsp curry powder or 2tbsp curry paste
- Fresh cracked pepper and sea salt to taste
To clean mussels… run under cold water and inspect for cracks, breaks and dead ones. Discard any with a broken shell. If the mussel will not close, gently tap it on the side of the sink and watch. It should close. Discard any that do not close tightly. Some of the mussels will also have a “beard”. Remove this by gently sliding up and down while pulling.
In a large sauté pan, pot or wok, heat Olive oil. Add curry powder and fennel seeds. Cook, stirring constantly until super fragrant (approximately 1 minute). Add shallots, garlic, celery and fennel. Continue to cook on medium for another 2 minutes. Add wine, cook on high heat for 4 minutes. Add mussels, basil and tomatoes, cover and cook 5-7 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes or so to ensure the ones on the bottom get moved to the top for even cooking. Cook until all mussels are open.
Discard any that did not open during cooking.
To serve, sprinkle with fennel fronds and a handful of torn basil leaves.
TIPS – Offer a large empty bowl on the table to discard empty shells.