- half x 375g pack ready-rolled puff pastry
- 150ml white wine
- 1kg mussels in their shells, cleaned and debearded
Once regarded as the poor relation of the shellfish family because of their small size and…
- 2 tbsp olive oil
Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…
- 1 large onion, sliced
Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…
- 4 sticks celery, sliced
A collection of long, thick, juicy stalks around a central, tender heart, celery ranges in…
- 1 star anise
Star anise is one of the central spices in Chinese cooking. It has a strong anise flavour, with…
- 1 strip peeled orange zest
One of the best-known citrus fruits, oranges aren't necessarily orange - some varieties are…
- 2 bay leaves
- pinch saffron
The stigma of a type of crocus, saffron threads have a pungent and distinctive aroma and flavour…
- juice half lemon
Oval in shape, with a pronouced bulge on one end, lemons are one of the most versatile fruits…
- 200-250g punnet cherry tomatoes, halved
- pinch cayenne pepper or crushed dried chilleis
- 350g peeled Atlantic prawns
There are thousands of different species of prawn, but tiger, king and North Atlantic are the…
- 25-50g/1-2 oz butter, to taste
Butter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…
- chopped parsley
One of the most ubiquitous herbs in British cookery, parsley is also popular in European and…
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Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Lay the pastry (a piece about 18cm x 23cm) on a lightly floured surface. Cut into 4 rectangles (see Gary’s tip, below). Place on a baking sheet and bake for about 15 mins until golden and puffy.
Meanwhile, pour the wine and 450ml/16fl oz water (see Gary’s tip below) into a large, deep pan and bring to a boil. Tip in the cleaned mussels and cover with a lid. After a couple of mins, remove the lid and stir the mussels until they open. Any refusing to open should be discarded. Drain the mussels in a colander, saving the juices. Remove the mussels from the shells, keeping some shells if you like, to use when serving the soup.
Warm the olive oil in the pan, then add the sliced onion, celery, star anise, orange zest, bay leaves, saffron and lemon juice. Cook over a moderate heat without colouring the vegetables, stirring occasionally, until completely tender, 12-15 mins.
Strain the mussel cooking liquor through a fine sieve over the vegetables, and bring to a simmer. Add the tomatoes, season with a pinch of cayenne pepper or crushed chillies and simmer for a few mins to soften the tomatoes. Spoon the mussels and prawns into the soup, stir in your preferred quantity of butter and heat to just below simmering point – you don’t want to overcook the fish. Sprinkle in some chopped parsley to finish, and serve in bowls with a pastry lid perched on top of each.
To give the pastry a siny glaze, brush with egg yolk mixed with a little milk before baking. And, fish stock (made with cubes) can be used in place of water in step 2, for an even richer flavour.