3 kilograms medium sized mussels
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, sliced
1 fennel bulb, sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 cup white wine
2 tablespoons Pernod, Pastis or dry vermouth
2 medium vine tomatoes, diced
¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
olive bread to serve
Rinse the mussels in cold water and scrape off any barnacles with a knife. Pull off the beard with a sharp downwards tug.
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and cook the onion, fennel and garlic with a good pinch of salt until soft. Increase the heat and add the mussels, white wine and the Pernod. Stir, then cover and cook for a few minutes, shaking the pan occasionally. Remove the mussels as they open, replacing the lid each time until all the remaining mussels have opened. Discard any that remain closed. Divide between serving bowls.
Stir the tomatoes and parsley into the cooking liquor then pour over the mussels. Serve with bread for mopping up the juices.