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Mussel and Fennel Bisque

Mussel and Fennel Bisque


  • 2 pounds mussels, scrubbed, debearded
  • 4 cups (about) bottled clam juice or low-salt chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 2 1/2 cups 1/2-inch cubes fresh fennel bulbs, divided, fennel fronds chopped and reserved for garnish
  • 1/4 cup 1/4-inch cubes peeled carrot
  • 1/2 cup chopped shallots (about 2 large)
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • Chopped fresh parsley (optional)

Recipe Preparation

  • Combine mussels and wine in large pot. Cover; bring to boil. Boil until mussels open, about 5 minutes (discard any that do not open). Using tongs, transfer to large bowl. Pour cooking liquid through strainer set over 8-cup measuring cup. Add enough clam juice to cooking liquid to measure 5 cups. Remove mussels from shells; place in small bowl. Discard shells. Cover mussels and chill until ready to use, up to 8 hours.

  • Melt 2 tablespoons butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Add 1 1/2 cups fennel cubes and carrot; sauté until fennel is slightly softened, about 10 minutes. Add shallots; sauté until soft, about 4 minutes. Add clam juice mixture, rice, tomato paste, thyme, and bay leaf. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; partially cover and simmer until rice is tender, stirring occasionally, about 25 minutes. Discard bay leaf. Cool slightly. Working in batches, puree in blender. Return to saucepan.

  • Meanwhile, melt 1 tablespoon butter in small nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 1 cup fennel cubes; sauté until crisp-tender, about 7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat. DO AHEAD Bisque mixture and sautéed fennel can be made 8 hours ahead. Chill bisque mixture uncovered until cold, then cover and keep chilled. Cover and chill fennel. Bring bisque mixture to simmer before continuing.

  • Add whipping cream, brandy, and mussels to bisque mixture; bring to simmer. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle bisque into 6 bowls. Sprinkle sautéed fennel cubes atop bisque. Garnish with chopped fennel fronds and parsley, if desired.

  • Try a crisp white wine with the bisque. We like the very affordable Snoqualmie 2007 Sauvignon Blanc ($8) from Washington State.

Reviews Section

  • 2 lbs mussels, scrubbed and sorted
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 4 cups fish stock (court bouillon – see recipe below)
  • 2/3 cup crème fraîche
  • 1 large Florence fennel (Finocchio), thinly sliced reserve sprigs for garnish
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds, coarsely crushed
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced
  • Salt/white pepper to taste

The Court Bouillon:

  • 2 – 3 lbs fish bones, preferably from white fleshed fish (cod, flounder, etc. are ideal). Avoid using oily fish such as salmon
  • 1 whole, peeled onion, studded with 3 cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 small bunch fresh thyme or 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and cut into thick slices
  • 1 small bunch fresh parsley
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped, or a hand-full of celery leaves (optional)
  • 2 TB apple cider vinegar
  • 5 qts water
  • 5 whole black peppercorns
  • Note: don’t add salt

  • 3 whole artichokes
  • 1 bulb fennel, trimmed and diced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 2 quarts water to cover
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon margarine
  • 1 pound mussels - cleaned and debearded
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Remove the hearts and stems from the artichokes and discard the leaves. Chop the hearts and stems and place them in a large pot over low heat with the fennel and onion. Add the cream, just enough water to cover all, and salt and pepper to taste. Let this simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until tender.

Meanwhile, rinse and de-beard the mussels. In a separate large saucepan over medium low heat, sweat the garlic in the butter or margarine for 30 seconds. Add the cleaned mussels and the wine, cover and let simmer for 5 minutes. Remove the mussels and reserve the liquid. (Note: Be careful not to brown the garlic.)

Transfer the vegetable mixture to a blender and puree until smooth. Add the lemon juice, reserved mussel liquid and season with salt and pepper to taste. Strain this mixture through a fine mesh strainer and top each serving with some mussels. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley.

Celery Root, Celery Seed, and Mussel Bisque

Various parts of the celery plant give this rich bisque an earthy edge.



Mussels and Broth:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 ribs celery, sliced
  • 1/2 onion, sliced
  • 1/2 small fennel bulb, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 4 cups water
  • 24 Prince Edward mussels, cleaned and bearded
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 small celery root, peeled and diced into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 3 ribs celery, sliced
  • 1/2 onion, sliced
  • 2 peeled cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half
  • Salt to taste


Make the broth: heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the celery, onions, fennel, and garlic. Sauté until softened and golden, about 7 minutes. Add the white wine and use a wooden spoon to scrape any browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Add the water and bring to a simmer. Add the mussels and cover the pot. Cook just until the mussels have opened, about 8 to 10 minutes. Use tongs to transfer the mussels to a plate. (Discard any mussels that don&rsquot open.) Strain the broth and reserve. Remove the mussel meat from most the shells, leaving a few in the shells for garnish. Discard the shells.

In the same pot, make the bisque. Add the olive oil and warm over medium heat. Add the celery root, celery, onions, and garlic. Sauté until slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Add the reserved mussel broth. Simmer gently, until the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a blender or food processor blend until smooth. Strain the soup through a fine-mesh sieve. Stir in the half-and-half. Season with salt to taste.

Divide the soup among serving bowls. Top each serving with reserved mussels. Sprinkle with celery seed and lemon zest. Serve with bread on the side.

The defining characteristic of Maine-style clam chowders is that traditionally they’re made with milk and never thickened with flour. In comparison to other types of New England chowders, the northernmost New England versions are on the thinner and brothier side of the chowder spectrum. This doesn’t mean a milky Maine clam chowder isn’t hearty and delicious! [&hellip]

If you have strong opinions about chowder you might freak out when you learn about a Long Island clam chowder. Judging from the cover pic you’re probably already a little alarmed. Yeah, it’s pink. I know, strange, isn’t it? We all know chowder allegiances run deep in the Northeast. Everyone claims the version they grew [&hellip]


Dish type

Total time


Artichoke, fennel and mussel bisque

This is an amazing soup to serve as a springtime starter. One recommendation is to keep the cooking time down - don't overdo it! The soup goes from a wonderful light, bright green to a very dull green if overcooked. Enjoy!

Baked cod with fennel and tomato

You only need 5 ingredients to make this easy baked cod dish flavoured with thinly sliced fennel and fresh tomatoes.

Duck breasts with fennel sauce

Duck breasts are seared until the skin is crispy and the meat is tender and juicy, then topped with a sweet-tart mushroom, fennel and garlic sauce flavoured with red wine vinegar, honey and figs.

Recipe by: Christopher Isacke

White bean, fennel and tomato soup

A delicious vegan white bean, fennel, courgette and tomato soup for cold winter days. I think it is best with beans that are soaked overnight then boiled, but you can easily use tinned beans.


1. Twist the lobster body away from the tail, saving any of the juices. Using a knife or a pair of sharp scissors, split the body lengthwise and add it to a large pot with olive oil on medium heat. Cook for 3- 5 minutes.

2. Remove lobster meat from the tails and claws and cut into 1inch (2.5cm) chunks, set aside.

3. Add fennel, garlic, onion, lemon, celery, carrot and the whole herbs (not chopped and reserved) to the pot with the lobster bodies add a couple pinches of salt. Sweat the lobster and the vegetables until translucent, about 3-5 minutes.

4. Add the tomato paste and continue cooking for 3-5 minutes, add the wine, Pernod, chicken stock and ¼ of the mussels. Cover with a lid and simmer on low heat for 35- 40 minutes.

5. Strain through a colander set over a pot large enough to catch all of the broth. Using a ladle, force the juice out lobster shells and vegetables, the best flavour is hidden in there. Return the broth to the heat and slowly reduce it until the flavour is rich, briny and tasting of lobster, about 5-7 minutes.

6. Combine butter with flour and work into a paste. Blend the flour and butter mixture into the broth with an immersion blender and continue to cook for 5-7 minutes, until the starchy flour taste is gone and the chowder becomes thick.

7. Add corn, potatoes, peas, cream, oysters, the rest of the mussels and the lobster meat. Cover with a lid and simmer until the mussels just begin to open.

Chef Lesego's Blog

I love soups, especially in Autumn. All kinds of soups, the pureed creamy variety (butternut soup and courgette soup), the chunky American kind (chowders and gumbos) and the typically British variety (meat and potatoes etc). All are popular in South Africa, although we give them various names.

Another reason I always chime on about soups is because of my obsession with stocks. If you’ve followed my blog for a while or have a copy of my first book Dijo (if you don’t, I’m seriously judging you right now) then you’ll know how I feel about people making their own stocks at home from scratch. They are the base of all good sauces and soups. So when you see a soup recipe from me, be ready to see the word “stock” somewhere in the ingredients.

This recipe is for a creamy seafood soup called a bisque. If you ever see cream in a soup recipe 90% of the time the soup will have French roots. They love cream, butter and wine…and all of those ingredients are in this recipe. What is a bisque? A bisque is a smooth and creamy seafood soup, it’s classically made with the broth from strained crustacean shells (I always tell people not to throw away the heads and shells of prawns and crayfish that they’ve peeled and rather to freeze them, this is the reason why. They make for an awesome soup). Prawns, lobsters, shrimp etc are traditionally used for this soup, I’ve twisted mine a bit and added mussels and calamari tentacles (please use tentacles and not rings or tubes). It’s awesome and really really tasty. The way I was taught to make it at chef school involved using arborio rice to thicken the soup but I’ve found it added a weird texture to the soup, so I’ve stopped doing that over the years as I’ve perfected the soup. It’s a pretty straight forward recipe but it uses a lot of ingredients, so be warned. Enjoy!

25 Ridiculously Addictive Mussel Recipes

One thing you can still enjoy readily in the Paleo lifestyle is seafood. Mussels can make a crazy-healthy dinner, and the best part is that most traditional and tasty recipes for mussels are already naturally paleo without any adjustments necessary. You can do them curry-style, marinara, spicy, garlicky, buttery—there are dozens of ways, and all of them are delicious.

This recipe makes a full meal that would work as a breakfast, lunch, or dinner. The mussels add a beachy, sophisticated flavor to this omelet, which is topped with a homemade aioli (recipe included) and seasoned with fresh chopped tarragon and black pepper.

This is a smoked haddock, salmon, and mussel soup that’s beautiful and full of flavor. You can turn it paleo by simply using coconut milk in place of the cow’s milk, and I love the flavors you’ll get by doing that! Filling and nutritious, this is your new favorite soup.

These mussels look super fancy, but they’re so simple that I can hardly call this a recipe! It’s all in the garnish, which you obviously can eat, too. The onion and garlic flavors and seaside aromas of this dish will transport you right to the Mediterranean coast.

This dish is Whole 30 approved, but you won’t feel deprived when you bite into these soft mussels with red curry paste, fish sauce, fresh basil, coconut milk, and spiralized zucchini noodles. Get your vegetables in with your protein, people!

This budget-friendly stew is made with white fish fillets, garlic, olive oil, lemon, tomatoes, white wine, shrimp, mussels, fish stock, and other fantastic flavors and nourishing ingredients. The presentation is beautiful and the taste is out of this world.

This easy recipe is insanely delicious, in part because it has bacon (pancetta, actually) and the flavors infuse throughout the dish for a fantastic overlay and coconut milk, garlicky goodness underneath. And mussels, of course. Can’t forget those.

This steamy and fragrant mussel soup is packed with grass-fed butter, celery, onion, bell pepper, portobello mushrooms, tomato flavors, beef broth, and more. Let it fill you up warm and toasty on a chilly night, when you can pretend you’re actually at the beach.

Here’s a simple mussels in coconut broth recipe that’s dairy-free without any adjustments. It’s rich and creamy without weighing you down, and the ginger flavors are bright and fantastic. Find a paleo green curry paste, or just make your own.

Cioppino is an Italian seafood soup, and this one gets fancy without getting difficult. Celery, carrot, and parsnip keep it hearty and rich in vegetables, while dry wine, tomatoes, sage, red chili flakes, and garlic add bursts of flavor that blend together perfectly.

This is one of the most beautiful mussel dishes I’ve ever seen, and with unique ingredients like orange zest, pomegranate, and minced vegetables. A perfect tapas dish, this could be served as an appetizer or snack to friends and family and shared among everyone.

This blogger touts the recipe as being especially kid-friendly in its originating home, so rest assured this at least isn’t too spicy for kids, if you can get them to eat mussels. It’s creamy with coconut milk, umami with tomatoes, and full of garlic and curry flavors.

This shrimp, mussels, and cabbage slaw full of interesting flavors like fennel and capers, which complement and enhance the natural flavors of the shrimp and mussels. Nigella is a perfect spice addition, but it’s optional, and you’ll find the other fantastic seasonings perfectly sufficient.

This dish conjures up images and tastes of Spain with its flavors of jalapeno, lime, coconut, cilantro, oregano, tomatoes, and more. These couldn’t be easier, as the method is as simple as putting everything in a pot and cooking it until it’s ready.

Photo: Five Men Making Shit

The great thing about mussels is that despite their fancy feel, the best ways to cook them are some of the simplest preparations that exist in cooking. In this recipe, you’re just going to saute the garlic, onion, and peppers, throw everything else into the pot, and cook until the mussels are finished, which takes just 5 minutes.

If you thought the last recipe was easy, wait until you try this one. These mussels are steamed up super simple in Thai curry paste, the juice of one lime, and a cup of coconut milk. That’s all you need—seriously. And the bright green color is so pretty!

While I’m sure these are great with sourdough bread as suggested, you definitely can skip that, or use a paleo substitute if you like the idea. The important thing here is the bright and buttery, spicy red chili flavors with the meaty chorizo sausage and the lovely flavors of the white wine.

While many of these recipes have a few of the same basic ingredients, it’s the slight differences in the ingredient list and technique that make them so different. This one has strong flavors of ginger and spice from cayenne for a more Thai-style flavor.

This “fake out meal” will have your guests impressed with your cooking skills and presentation, while YOU will be impressed by how little time, effort, and skills are actually involved in making this. I’d serve this curry dish with some sweet potato fries for extra color and flavor on your plate.

I highly recommend using the optional tomato puree or sauce in this recipe, because it really boosts the flavor in an awesome way. With plenty of onion, red pepper flakes, thyme, and white wine, you know this one’s going to be good just by glancing down the ingredient list.

This truly authentic Spanish mussels recipe is buttery and delicious, with white wine, lemon, basil, garlic, and plenty of butter. You really can’t go wrong with that combination, and if you don’t believe me, you’ll just have to try it for yourself, won’t you?

I love caramelized onions, and Vidalia onions are the perfect choice. The red wine and onion in this recipe will make your house smell like heaven while the mussels are cooking, and the chorizo helps make this a solid, filling, and nourishing meal, perhaps more than many of the other recipes on this list

Photo: Little Cooking Tips

This recipe is super simple, and needs only mussels, garlic, butter, salt/pepper, and parsley. The buttery garlic that “sauces” the mussels while baking is just heavenly, and will turn any mussels skeptic into an instant fan. Butter and garlic are magic, I’m telling you.

This method will fool your dinner guests into thinking you’re a professional French-trained chef. Cooking in parchment paper holds in flavors and lets food cook in its own juices, especially foods low in fat. The secret is the steam, and that’s why this mussel dish with bacon and apple is so flavorful.

This recipe is a two-in-one with a milder and a spicier way to prepare mussels. One is a white wine sauce with fennel and shallots, while the other is a Fra Diablo dish, which is hot and spicy with plenty of crushed red pepper flakes. Try one, or try them both!

Here’s another version of the coconut curry dishes we’ve been looking at with mussels. This one uses fish sauce for an especially intense flavor, with plenty of ginger and lime juice. I love the color of the green curry against the blue-black mussel shells.

Artichoke and Mussel Bisque

I made this soup the very first time about 50 years ago. This is one of my most prized creations. It all started after taking a tour of Penn Cove Shellfish, on Whidbey Island, Washington. When we left, they gave me a massive bag of fresh mussels, right from the sea. I needed to figure out what to do with them all!

This soup was one of the results. It also combines two of my other favorite ingredients, the artichoke and a fennel bulb.

This soup has a smooth and velvety quality. There&rsquos a rich flavor coming, not only from the cream, but from the artichoke heart. The fennel gives it a nice subtle sweetness, while also complementing the mussels with a light anise flavor.

This soup takes some work to make, but &hellip for a special occasion, a romantic evening, or just for a day spent playing in the kitchen, trying new things &hellip this is a good one. The end result is out of this world!

Video Note: Cleaning an artichoke, to get to the heart, takes a little bit of work. Here&rsquos a great video that shows the method.

Nutrition Note: I did not include the lemon in the nutrition, because it is not eaten. Also, the all the nutrition I can find for mussels seems to base the nutrition off of the mussel, without the shells. However, you purchase them &ldquowith&rdquo the shells. Mussels definitely have carbs. I&rsquom going to assume 1 lb. of mussels has about 24 mussels, weighing about 12 grams each, when cooked and removed from their shells. This is about 4 mussels per person, and totals 288 grams with of &ldquomussel meat&rdquo.