- 1 leek, white part halved and thinly sliced
- 1 fennel bulb, halved and thinly sliced
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 roasted red bell peppers, diced
- 3 roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 cup of white wine
- 3 inch peel of orange
- 1/2 cup kalamata olives, drained and washed
- 1 whole star anise
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- 2-3 pounds Mussels, cleaned and debearded
- Freshly chopped parsley for garnish
- Oil for cooking
For Bread and Aioli:
- 1 loaf crusty bread, sliced on bias into 1/2 inch thick slices
- 3 eggs yolks
- Juice from half a lemon
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 2 garlic cloves, 1 finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon berbere
- 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus 1-2 tablespoons to grill bread
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- For the aioli, whisk together the egg yolks, lemon juice and zest, berbere, and garlic in a medium bowl. Slowly add drops of oil into the mixture, while whisking vigorously to form an emulsion. Continue to slowly drizzle oil while whisking to form a thickened sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Adjust taste with more lemon juice if needed. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
- For mussels, heat Large Always Pan on medium with 1-2 tablespoons of oil. Add onions and fennel to pan, season with salt and pepper. Cook the onions and fennel, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 2-3 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another minute.
- Add tomatoes and peppers to the pan. Turn heat up to medium high. Cook until liquid for tomatoes and peppers has cooked away and everything is starting to get a bit dry.
- Stir in tomato paste, cooking for about a minute. Add in wine, orange peel, olives, and star anise. Bring to a simmer, turn heat down to low, and cover with lid. Cook for 5-10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, clean the mussels and grill the bread.
- Heat a grill pan over medium high heat. Brush sliced bread with oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on the hot grill, cook each side until grill marks appear, about 2-3 minutes. Set aside until ready to serve.
- Rinse mussels with cold water. Remove any mussels with broken shells. Depending on your fishmonger, some mussels may need to be debearded. The beard is the string the mussels hang on in the sea. If you see it hanging outside the shell, just rip it off. If a mussel is open, flick the shells to test it; if it is closed, keep it; if not, throw it out.
- Remove the lid from the pan, take out the orange peel and star anise, and turn the heat up to medium-high. When the contents of the pan begin to bubble, add the mussels. Toss everything together to mix up, place the lid back on the pan.
- The mussels will open when they are cooked, this will take 3-4 minutes. Lift lid to check, if most of the mussels are still closed, give the pan a shake and place the lid back on the pan. Cook for another 30 seconds to a minute. Check again, the majority should be open. Do not try to open and eat any that did not.
- Stir in chopped parsley and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Serve immediately with bread and aioli.