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Author Notes: If you like mussels, this is one of the most delicious soups to prepare for family and friends. Some years ago, my friend Mark Williamson, had a beautiful restaurant, “La Moulin de la Village,” in a pedestrian alleyway near the Place de la Madeleine in Paris. His chef served this soup to start my dinner on a chilly March evening. Mark paired it with an incredible Don Zoilo Fino Sherry. These days, you can find Mark at Macéo at 15 rue des Petits Champs. I recommend EVERYthing on their menu! —ChefJune
Makes 6 servings
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 medium carrots, peeled, chopped
- 3 leeks (white and pale green parts only) chopped
- 3 celery stalks, chopped
- 1 1/2 red bell peppers, seeded and chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 cup Fino sherry
- 2 cups fish stock (don’t use clam juice!)
- 1/1/2 cups Aïoli (http://www.food52.com/recipes/12011_crab_beignets_with_aoli_dipping_sauce)
- 3 pounds mussels steamed and removed from their shells
- Heat oil in a heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add carrots, leeks, celery, bell pepper, bay leaf and saffron to the skillet and sauté for 5 minutes. Add wine, fish stock and salt to the skillet and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.
- Purée mixture in batches in a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Then force it through a tamis or fine sieve. You may wish to process the vegetable mixture a second time and again work the resulting liquid through the tamis. [Soup can be prepared up to this point 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Return to the simmer before continuing.]
- Stir aïoli into the soup. Add mussels to the soup and simmer until just heated through, about 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove bay leaf from soup.
- Serve the soup in large shallow soup plates with crôutes. (These are slices of toasted baguette.)
- Teacher’s Tip: Scrub and debeard mussels just before steaming. If done too far in advance, the mussels may die. Discard any mussels which do not close after tapping.
- Wine Tip: Serve an excellent Fino Sherry with this soup. It makes a fabulous first course as well as a luscious luncheon or Sunday night supper entrée.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Shellfish
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