Steamed Mussels with Fennel
Reprinted with permission from Tanya Holland’s California Soul: Recipes from a Culinary Journey West by Tanya Holland, published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House. Text copyright © 2022 Tanya Holland. Photographs copyright © 2022 Aubrie Pick.
Yields 4 Servings
AuthorTanya Holland

“Winter’s abundance in California includes black mussels; golden fennel that sprouts on the side of roads and in fields; and purple, sweet, and golden onions,” says renowned California chef Tanya Holland. “Fennel, pancetta, and the three kinds of onions come together to create a stunning sweet and savory broth that enhances the sweet shellfish. Mussels are one of those foods that more people should cook at home: They’re relatively inexpensive, delicious, and very easy to prepare. In true California spirit, serve this with a toasted chunk of sourdough bread to sop up the broth.”

How to Make It

1

Line a plate with paper towels. Add the pancetta to a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat and cook until it turns crispy and brown, 5–7 minutes. 


2

Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pancetta to the paper towels to drain, but leave the fat in the pan. 


3

To the fat, add the onion, shallot, leek, and fennel, and sauté until tender, 6–8 minutes. 


4

Carefully add the white wine and cook, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon until the wine is almost completely reduced, about 3 minutes. 


5

Add the broth, mussels, chives, thyme, and tarragon. Toss to coat and cover. Steam just until the mussels open, shaking the pan occasionally, about 4 minutes. 


6

Add the broth, mussels, chives, thyme, and tarragon. Toss to coat and cover. Steam just until the mussels open, shaking the pan occasionally, about 4 minutes. 


7

Sprinkle with the reserved pancetta and fennel fronds. Serve immediately with the bread.

Ingredients

 8 oz pancetta, diced
 1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
 1 shallot, thinly sliced
 1 leek, white parts thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
 ½ small bulb fennel, thinly sliced (about 1 cup), plus some reserved fronds for garnishing
 ½ cup white wine
 1 ½ cups chicken broth
 2 lbs mussels, scrubbed and debearded
 1 tbsp chopped fresh chives
 2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
 2 tsp chopped fresh tarragon
 crusty bread, such as sourdough

Directions

1

Line a plate with paper towels. Add the pancetta to a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat and cook until it turns crispy and brown, 5–7 minutes. 


2

Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pancetta to the paper towels to drain, but leave the fat in the pan. 


3

To the fat, add the onion, shallot, leek, and fennel, and sauté until tender, 6–8 minutes. 


4

Carefully add the white wine and cook, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon until the wine is almost completely reduced, about 3 minutes. 


5

Add the broth, mussels, chives, thyme, and tarragon. Toss to coat and cover. Steam just until the mussels open, shaking the pan occasionally, about 4 minutes. 


6

Add the broth, mussels, chives, thyme, and tarragon. Toss to coat and cover. Steam just until the mussels open, shaking the pan occasionally, about 4 minutes. 


7

Sprinkle with the reserved pancetta and fennel fronds. Serve immediately with the bread.

Steamed Mussels with Fennel, Pancetta, Herbs, and Three Onions

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