This doesn’t require too much prep time and tastes far better than anything you could expect in under half an hour of cooking time, says Rebecca Oliver. You can use a spicy cooked chorizo (taken out of the skin) if you can’t find an ‘nduja. I like to use seashells instead of scallops when I’m feeling more extravagant.
Ingredients: serves 3 as a starter or 2 as a main course
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ of a fennel bulb, very finely diced (reserve fronds for serving, if you like)
- ½ shallot, very finely diced
- 1½ tbsp ‘Nduja paste
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- ½ tsp fennel seeds
- 850 g live mussels in shell, cleaned
- generous sip of dry white wine, about 50ml-75ml
- 2½ tbsp cream
- Splash of lemon juice
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- a handful of finely chopped flat-leaf parsley, to serve (optional)
- Baguette or toasted sourdough to serve
- To clean the clams, place them in a colander in the sink and run the faucet to get water flowing. Scrub them with a brush or your hand to loosen everything on the outside, and pull off the beard (the long, fibrous bit that comes out of the shell) by pulling firmly until it comes loose. All open shells only need one tap to find out if they are alive or not. If they close, they’re good to use; otherwise discard.
- Heat a saucepan large enough for the clams (with a tight-fitting lid) over medium-high heat. Add oil, fennel and shallot and a large pinch of salt. Stir and sauté for about 15 minutes, being careful not to catch. You want it to taste translucent and sweet, not scorched. Remove the shallot, fennel and oil mixture from the pan and set aside. Wipe out the pan and return it to a high heat. Gather all your ingredients so that when the pan smokes you can toss things in very quickly one at a time to avoid burning.
- When the pan is hot, add the ‘nduja, followed 5 seconds later by the shallot and fennel mixture (including the oil), the garlic, and the fennel seeds, mixing well so it doesn’t stick. Add the mussels and wine and give them a really good shake. Put the lid on and let sit for a few minutes, or until most of the clams have opened. Using a slotted spoon, divide the mussels between two plates and keep the remaining sauce over high heat. Discard mussels that don’t open. Add the cream to the sauce and taste. Season as needed and finish with a squeeze of lemon juice.
- Pour the sauce over the mussels along with the reserved fennel sprigs (if using) and the finely chopped parsley. Serve with a nice piece of bread.
Taken by The Dusty Knuckle: Really good bread, knockout sandwiches and everything in between by Max Tobias, Rebecca Oliver and Daisy Terry, published by Quadrille for £20. To buy from The bookstore of the week for £15.99 call 020-3176 3835.
https://www.theweek.co.uk/arts-life/food-drink/956531/recipe-mussels-nduja-cream-fennel Recipe: Mussels, ‘nduja, cream and fennel