Fennel's clean anise flavour complements the vermouth. Make sure you've got extra bread for mopping up the juices left in the bottom of the bowl.
1 brown onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely sliced
1 fennel bulb, trimmed and finely sliced, top fronds reserved
2kg mussels, washed and de-bearded
2 sprigs thyme
2 bay leaves
1 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
Salt and pepper
Place a large, heavy-based saucepan over a high heat. Add a dash of olive oil and fry onion, garlic and sliced fennel for 1 minute. Add mussels, thyme, bay leaves and vermouth. Cover with a lid and cook, stirring occasionally, until mussels open, about 5 minutes. Add cream and parsley.
Season and serve mussels, cooking liquid and vegetables in large bowls. Top with fennel fronds and eat with crusty bread.
*We use Noilly Prat vermouth but you can substitute white wine.