PEI Mussels and Grilled Bread

cuisine French
difficulty Simple
season Year Round
serves 4

Ingredients for the mussels broth

2 leeks, sliced 1 cup diced tomato 3 cloves garlic, minced 1 shallot, sliced 2 cups dry white wine 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard 4 sprigs tarragon

for the caramelized fennel and leeks

2 tablespoons unsalted butter 2 fennel bulbs, trimmed and cored, thinly sliced 1/2” lengths 2 leeks, light green and white parts only, 1/2” slice

for the mussels

2 tablespoons unsalted butter 2 shallots, thinly sliced 5 pounds mussels, scrubbed and debearded 1/4 cup Pernod 8 ounces crème fraîche 2 tablespoons tarragon leaves, chopped Kosher salt Olive oil 8 slices country bread Tarragon sprigs, for garnish


  1. Combine all of the ingredients for the broth in a MEDIUM SAUCEPAN. Cover, bring to a simmer, and cook until the mussels open, about 3 minutes. Strain the broth, and reserve the mussels.
  2. In a 12” FRYING PAN, melt the butter. Add the fennel and cook over moderately-low heat, stirring occasionally, until tender and golden, about 15 minutes. Add the leeks and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and the fennel is lightly caramelized, about 8 minutes more. Remove from the heat.
  3. In a LARGE POT, melt the butter. Add the shallot and cook over moderate heat until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the mussels and Pernod and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the mussel broth and the fennel mixture. Cover and cook until the mussels open, about 5 minutes; using a slotted spoon, transfer the mussels to a large bowl as they open.
  4. Brush both sides of the bread with olive oil and cook on top of the stove in a GRILL PAN, an outdoor grill, or toast in the oven at 350 degrees F. until golden.
  5. Bring the broth to a simmer. Whisk in the crème fraîche and season with salt. Add the chopped tarragon and all of the mussels and cook until hot.
  6. Divide the mussels among 4 serving bowls, ladle the broth over each bowl, and serve immediately with the toasted bread.