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
extra-virgin olive oil
medium carrots, peeled, chopped
leeks (white and pale green parts only) chopped
celery stalks, chopped
red bell peppers, seeded and chopped
fish stock (don’t use clam juice!)
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.