This is a great dish for entertaining guests, especially ones not from BC. It was originally inspired by a Jamie Oliver cookbook my sister-in-law gave me a few years back, and this recipe alone has been the gift that keeps on giving. Over the years, I’ve been delighted to enjoy watching houseguests crunch the crusty bread, dip in the sauce, and relish slurping down the mussels. It’s not just a meal—it’s an experience that brings people together. Good food, good wine, and good company—what more could you ask for? Mussels are readily available, hold an incredible amount of flavour, and are quite reasonably priced. The key to this recipe is make sure you have a good white wine and the best loaf of crusty bread you can find.
Finely chop the fennel bulb, onion, and about 4 or 5 cloves of garlic. In your largest saucepan (one with a good lid), add the olive oil, and cook over medium heat until slightly translucent. It's important to not burn anything here, so be mindful of the temperature—sweating this mixture should take about 10 min.
Turn the heat to high and add in the crème fraîche and wine. Give it a few good stirs, then add the mussels. Give everything a good mix, then quickly cover. After a couple of minutes, give it a good mix again. You'll be ready to serve about 3-4 min after you see the majority of them open. This is the most important part. Don't be looking for every single one to open, or you'll overcook, and they'll be chewy. Throw away any mussels that didn't open. That's it!
This recipe was featured in the September 2019 issue of Island Fisherman magazine.