Blood Orange Mussels with Fennel, Ginger and Turmeric Roots
by eat in my kitchen
I’m still in my post Christmas meat-reduced phase, I just don’t feel inspired to throw a heavy roast in the oven, or put a steak in the pan. Although the annual feasting is already a month ago, my appetite calls for vegetables and seafood, light on the body and preferably refined with lots of citrus fruits, herbs, spices or whatever comes into my mind.
Out of all the wonderful culinary gifts we get from the sea, mussels are one of the easiest to prepare and luckily, they’re still in season. I like to be brave when it comes to seasoning their cooking juices, I want each single flavour to be present to infuse their meat, this is not the time to be shy! Today’s recipe follows this rule and makes the most aromatic broth, it’s perfect to dip little pieces of crunchy baguette in. This is almost the best part of this meal and every time we have mussels on the table, it fills me with excitement. So, I chose a combination of sweet blood orange, fennel, fresh ginger and turmeric which literally melts in your mouth, it’s a colourful explosion of fresh flavours. Look at the bright yellow, the vibrant orange and refreshing green, translate that into taste and you’ll have an idea of what happened at our lunch table!
For the cooking broth, I mixed the citrus fruit’s juice with some white wine and grated a little zest which created a wonderful aroma. Roots were my next addition, strips and slices of warming ginger and luckily, I can get fresh turmeric at the moment. The deep orange root is a fragrant concentrate, it’s so unique you can’t compare it to anything else, not even the powder. When I peel the thin skin off it turns my fingers into a golden yellow, it had the same effect on the broth and looked stunning. I couldn’t help it, this buoyant dish just put a smile on my face!
Some more mussel inspiration:
Blood Orange Mussels with Fennel, Ginger and Turmeric
For 2-3 people you need
fresh mussels 1 kg / 2 pounds
white wine 200ml / 1/2 pint
freshly squeezed blood orange juice 50ml / 1 3/4 ounces
blood orange zest 1 tablespoon
small fennel bulb, quartered and thinly sliced, 1 plus the fresh green, chopped, for the topping
fresh ginger, cut into small strips, a thumb sized piece
fresh turmeric, sliced, 1 thumbnail sized piece
bay leaf 1
salt 1/2 teaspoon
Rinse and scrub the mussels under cold water and cut off the beard, discard any broken mussels.
In a large pot, bring the wine and juice with the zest, fennel, ginger, turmeric, bay leaf and salt to the boil. Add the mussels to the hot broth, close with a lid and cook on lowest heat for 5 minutes or until the shells open (shake the pot once or twice while cooking or gently mix with a slotted ladle). Discard any mussels that don’t open! Sprinkle the mussels with the fresh fennel green and serve immediately, preferably with baguette and a glass of chilled white wine.