- half x pack ready-rolled puff pastry
- 150ml white wine
- 1kg mussels in their shells, cleaned and debearded
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion , sliced
- 4 sticks celery , sliced
- 1 star anise
- 1 strip peeled orange zest
- 2 bay leaves
- pinch saffron
- juice half lemon
- 200-250g punnet cherry tomatoes , halved
- pinch cayenne pepper or crushed dried chilleis
- 350g peeled Atlantic prawns
- 25-50g/1-2 oz butter , to taste
- chopped parsley
- STEP 1
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.
- STEP 2
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.
- STEP 3
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.
- STEP 4
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.