Mussels in Fennel Sauce


  • 6 dozen mussels, scrubbed, debearded
  • 8 tablespoons butter, cut into pats, separated
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup finely chopped fennel bulb
  • 1/2 cup court bouillon, see recipe
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • Salt and pepper
  • Chives, fresh, chopped
  • Fennel, herb, chopped


  1. Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a heavy pot. Add in the shallot and cook over medium heat until softened. Add in the mussels, white wine, fennel bulb, and the court bouillon.
  2. Cover, and bring to a boil. Steam the mussels, shaking the pan occasionally to stir them up, for about 5 to 7 minutes, or until the mussels steam open. Remove mussels with a slotted spoon, and remove the meat from the shells. Reserve.
  3. Strain the liquid, pressing on the solids to extract any left over liquid, and bring it to a boil. Reduce until there is about a cup of liquid. Add in the cream, and boil gently until the sauce coats the back of a wooden spoon. Whisk in the remaining butter pats.
  4. Add back the mussel meat, and season with salt and pepper. Just before serving, stir in the chopped chives and fennel tops.
  5. Serve immediately.


Adapted from The Good Cook: Shellfish.

John’s motto is ‘release it unharmed or do it justice on the plate.’ Executive Chef, photographer, and surfer, John photographs ocean marine life when he’s out fishing, and creates masterpieces in the kitchen with what he keeps on deck. His photo works have been used in OEHHA Fish Advisories, National Geographic presentations, and nonprofit marine life groups. When he’s not fishing, he’s making great BBQ. Visit him at, and send him a message using the contact form using the link above.