Mussels may be the husband's favorite food. This always seems a little weird to me because he despises fish (although he will eat tilapia or halibut if coerced) and doesn't like clams or oysters. He, like me, is a big fan of escargot though, so maybe it's a texture thing (they always seems similar to me).
When I got fennel in the box I immediately thought of using it with mussels because I think fennel matches nicely with seafood (but, as mentioned, the husband doesn't like other seafood). Then I started to think about what matches with fennel. Here's what I came up with.
2 tablespoon butter
1 head fennel, trimmed, core removed and diced
1 bunch red scallion, diced (any other sweet onion or even leeks would work instead)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/3 cup white wine
1/3 cup orange juice
1 sprig thyme, leaves removed
2 pounds mussels, beards removed
1 loaf of crusty bread (to sop up the delicious broth)
I started by melting the butter over medium heat in a saucier (a stock pot would work just fine). I added the fennel, onion and garlic with a pinch of salt and let it all sweat until fennel and onion were cooked through. Next I added the wine, orange juice and thyme and brought the mixture to a boil.
Then I added the mussels to the pan. Gave it a stir.
Then put the lid on and let them cook. After six minutes I checked them and decided they needed a little more time (they were still slimy in the middle). Three minutes later I dished them up.
The husband enjoyed the dish immensely. I always like it when I make a dish he really enjoys (he is just so picky). I enjoyed the mussels well enough, but the broth was definitely my favorite part of the dish (it always is). Yummy bread, sweet, tangy broth. What could be wrong with that?