When entertaining at home, I often find that my favorite meals are the ones that are easy to pull together with just a few ingredients. The heart of this simple recipe is local shellfish (our Santa Barbara mussels are delicious), fennel from my garden and some tasty chorizo.
This is a straightforward, beautiful and easy meal. It’s great for entertaining because the raw components can be prepped ahead of time, it comes together so quickly and is fresh and flavorful (did I mention it’s easy?). Serve it with some warm crusty bread to sop up all the delicious broth. Our local Von’s bakes ciabatta daily. I often buy a loaf when it’s still hot— I love it when that happens. Pair with a crisp white wine and enjoy a great evening with your guests. Cheers!
Fennel, Mussels & Chorizo
Total prep and cooking time: 30 minutes
3 lbs. mussels
2 tsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, sliced
2 small fennel bulbs, sliced into crescents, reserve some of the fronds for garnish
5 oz. diced chorizo
1 chopped dried chili de arbor
1/2 tsp. red chili flakes
1 1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup water
To clean mussels, soak in water and then pull beard away from joint using an upward tugging motion to pull it out. Scrape off any barnacles with a knife and store in cool water until you are ready to cook.
Heat Dutch oven— I like my Lodge cast iron best for this dish. Over medium-high heat, add olive oil, garlic, fennel and chorizo, giving it a stir to incorporate flavors, put on the lid and cook for a few minutes. Next, add the dried chili or red chili flakes, mussels, white wine and water. Cover, give the pan a shake and cook for three minutes. Open-up and stir, you may need to cover and cook for a couple more minutes, until all the mussels open up.
In shallow bowls, divvy up the mussels, fennel and chorizo, strain the broth through a coffee filter to remove any sand that might be in the broth. Ladle the broth on top of the mussels and sprinkle with the reserved fennel fronds.