Hot mussel salad with fetta and fennel

Hot mussel salad with fetta and fennel

William Meppem

This is a delightful salad full of clean, refreshing flavours like the salty fetta and aniseedy fennel. The juices from the mussels blend beautifully with the minty-lemon dressing, and make the whole dish taste of the sea. Eat as a salad with plenty of hot, crusty bread, or top each serve with a little turban of egg noodles, briefly sautéed in lemon butter.


Quantity Ingredient
1 1/4kg fresh black rope mussels
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 celery stick, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
100ml white wine
1 large purple onion
250g fennel
acidulated water
180g good quality fetta cheese
1/2 cup radicchio leaves, roughly torn
2 witlof, leaves separated
2/3 cup watercress or parsley leaves


Quantity Ingredient
125ml extra-virgin olive oil
2 lemons, juiced
1 garlic clove, crushed with 1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried mint
freshly ground black pepper

To serve

Quantity Ingredient
360g egg noodles
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 lemon, juiced
salt and pepper


  1. Scrub the mussels clean of any sand and dirt and pull away the beards. In a heavy-based pot heat the olive oil and sauté the onion, celery and garlic. Add the wine and mussels. Cover and steam on a high heat for 3 minutes. Uncover and stir them around well, then steam for a further 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave covered to steam for another minute of so. Then strain off the liquor, reserving for future use. Discard the aromatics and any unopened mussels.
  2. Slice the whole onion into rings as finely as possible, then rinse it under cold running water for about 4 minutes. This crisps it up and softens the sharp flavour. Slice the fennel in half, remove the core, slice it very thinly lengthways and cover it with acidulated water until it is required.
  3. For the dressing, whisk the oil and lemon together, then add the garlic paste, 2 tablespoons of the mussel liquor, the dried mint and a grind of black pepper.
  4. To serve, place the fennel, onions, crumbled fetta, radicchio, witlof and watercress in a mixing bowl. Add the mussels and dressing and mix carefully.
  5. Cook and drain the egg noodles, then sauté them briefly in butter and add the lemon juice, salt and pepper. Use a fork to twist into six little turbans and arrange on top of salad.
Middle East
Middle Eastern
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