Mussels with Pernod and fennel recipe

This is a French recipe, from a visiting winemaker in New Zealand for the wine harvest. An aniseed wheel may be substituted for Pernod, to make a non-alcoholic version, and fennel can be replaced with sliced onions. Serve with crusty French bread.


1 Tbsp butter
2 fennel bulbs, cut into slivers
4 cloves garlic, finely diced
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup water
1/2 Tsp celery seeds
1kg (30) mussels in shell, cleaned and de-bearded
2 Tbsp Pernod
1/2 cup cream
2 sprigs fresh tarragon (or 1 Tsp dried)


  1. In a large pot, heat butter and sauté fennel slivers until nearly tender. Add garlic, and continue cooking for about 1 minute.
  2. Add the wine, water, Pernod (or aniseed wheel), and celery seeds. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Add cleaned mussels to the pot, cover, and cook over a high heat for about 4 minutes, until the mussels start to open. Add the cream and tarragon. Simmer for another minute.
  4. To serve – divide the sauce and mussels between four warm bowls, discarding any mussels that have not opened. Top with chopped parsley and slices of lemon.

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