Who says cooking a French meal needs to be a fiddly affair? This two-course menu is both delicious and simple to prepare
- 30ml olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 2 shallots or 1 small onion, peeled and finely sliced
- 1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
- 125ml dry white wine
- pinch saffron threads, soaked in 45ml warm water
- 10ml cornflour,
- mixed with 45ml cold water
- 1kg mussels, cleaned and tough beards removed
- 250ml cream
- salt and black pepper
- fresh fennel fronds
- hot crusty bread
- lemon wedges
1. Heat the olive oil in a pot. Add the garlic and shallots and gently fry over a low heat for 3–4 minutes, or until the shallots have softened.
2. Add the fennel and continue to cook over a low heat for 4–5 minutes.
3. Increase the heat, add the wine and bring to the boil.
4. Stir in the saffron-water mixture followed by the cornflour-water mixture. Stir frequently until the sauce thickens slightly.
5. Add the mussels and close the pot with a tight-fitting lid. Cook for 4–5 minutes or until the mussels have opened (discard any unopened mussels).
6. Reduce the heat and stir in the cream. Season with salt and pepper.
7. Serve immediately with a few fennel fronds scattered over the top, accompanied by slices of hot crusty bread and lemon wedges.
This recipe serves 4.