Mussels with fennel and vermouth

Mussels with fennel and vermouth.
Mussels with fennel and vermouth. Photo: Steven Siewert

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.


Olive oil

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

200ml vermouth*

150ml cream

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.