Baby Mussel, Fennel and Orange Salad

, from Issue #50. August, 2015
Photography by Aaron McLean.
Baby Mussel, Fennel and Orange Salad

Crisp slices of aniseed flavoured fennel and juicy oranges work beautifully with the tender mussels.

Serves: 4


30 fresh mussels
1 fennel bulb
2 oranges
2 baby cos lettuces
1/3 cup caper berries or 2 tablespoons capers
zest 1 lemon

1/3 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon dried tarragon
1 teaspoon honey
1 clove garlic, crushed
sea salt and freshly ground pepper


Dressing: Whisk all the ingredients in a bowl and season.

Scrub the mussels and pull off the beards.

Place in a large saucepan with a little water. Cover and cook over a high heat until opened. Discard any that stay shut.

When cool, remove the meat from the shells and place in a bowl. Toss with half of the dressing then cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Trim the fennel and reserve the fronds. Slice very thinly on a mandolin or with a very sharp knife.

Peel the oranges with a knife, removing all the white pith. Cut into ½ cm thick rounds.

Separate the lettuce leaves.

To assemble: Make 2-3 layers of lettuce, fennel, oranges and mussels. Scatter over the caper berries or capers and drizzle with the remaining dressing. Grind over a little black pepper and top with the reserved fennel fronds and lemon zest.