Hooked to cooked: mussel soup
What you need to know about mussels:
Whether farmed or wild caught, mussels are firmly on SASSI’s green list which means they come from healthy and well-managed stocks; this is important given that almost 85% of our global fisheries are being fished to the limit or beyond.
SASSI’s list is based on a variety of factors including the life history of each fish species, the impact of the fishery on the marine environment and the management of the fishery. Farmed mussels have a low impact on the environment because mussels feed themselves naturally on food particles already present in the sea (phytoplankton) and wild mussels grow in abundance and are harvested by hand, which means a particularly low impact on the surrounding habitat.
The mussels we find on the South African market mainly come from two places: our own shores (wild-caught black mussels) or from New Zealand (farmed green-lipped mussels). The best mussels have to be those picked here, on our home turf, by hand (as long as you have a valid permit, of course).
SASSI and sustainable fish champion, Pete Goffe-Wood, have teamed up to give us this easy and reliable mussel recipe: Black Mussel, Saffron and Fennel Soup. Download print-friendly version.
Ingredients (serves 2):
100ml white wine
1 bulb fennel, thinly-sliced (save fronds for garnish)
2 cloves garlic, finely-chopped
1 pinch saffron
A little oil for frying
1. Put a large stainless steel pot on the stove and heat for 5 minutes.
2. Add the mussels and wine. Cover and steam until all the mussels have opened.
3. Pour the mussels into a colander, keep the stock to one side as you will need it later for the soup base. Discard any mussels that have not opened and remove the rest from their shells.
4. Put a medium saucepan on the stove. Add a little oil followed by the fennel and garlic. Fry until the fennel is soft and translucent.
5. Add the saffron followed by the mussel stock. Bring to the boil and then add the cream and simmer for a further 10 minutes.
6. Add the mussels back into the soup and remove from the heat. Garnish and serve.
Pair this with a bottle of Vergelegen Chardonnay Reserve and enjoy!
By asking the right questions (What is it called? Where is it from? How was it caught or farmed?) about your seafood from your fishmonger or restaurant and by using the SASSI list, it’s easy to make your seafood choice a good one.
Check out more recipes using sustainable, green-listed fish in our Hooked to Cooked series.