Mussels With Tomatoes and Fennel

Foodista Cookbook Entry

Category: Main Dishes | Blog URL:

This recipe was entered in The Foodista Best of Food Blogs Cookbook contest, a compilation of the world’s best food blogs which was published in Fall 2010.


3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, smashed and roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon chilli flakes
1 teaspoon sugar
salt and pepper
handful chopped basil - Greek basil if you have it


Pick over the mussels, removing any beards.
Slice the onion. Remove the root end and stalks from the fennel and save any feathery bits for garnish. Thinly slice the bulb.
Cut a cross in the bottom of each tomato and pour boiling water over them. Let stand for a minute then slip off the skins and remove the cores.
Heat the olive oil and sauté the onion, fennel and garlic over a gentle heat until tender.
Turn the heat up to medium and add the fennel seeds and chilli flakes. Cook for a minute then add the wine and stir for a further minute.
Add quartered tomatoes and the sugar, stir then cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
Check the seasoning and add salt and freshly ground pepper as necessary. Add a handful of chopped basil.
Tip in the mussels, cover and steam for five minutes. The mussels are ready when the shells open. Discard any that remain closed.
Give the mussels a stir, sprinkle over the parsley (and chopped fennel fronds if using) and serve immediately in deep bowls with crusty bread.


There have been plenty of tomatoes to choose from lately and the flavour has definitely improved from the sad watery winter ones we were buying a few months back.

I like the smaller firm ones from Doncaster and Adelaide, calyxes still attached. They are not all a uniform red but still have patches of green and yellow and continue ripening quite happily in a basket on the bench. They're great in sandwiches or in a salad.

I'm not quite so picky when it comes to tomatoes that are going to be cooked so I was quick to bag myself some ripe but still firm 99 cents a kilo ones at the market on the weekend for a pot of mussels that night.

I've just planted a herb garden in large pot on the balcony and it's good to be able to grab and handful of fresh herbs when I want them. Along with the common basil, I've put in some Greek basil. The leaves are smaller and the flavour more intense and that's what I wanted for this dish.




Friday, February 19, 2010 - 9:39pm


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