Shellfish soup with fennel and saffron

Shellfish soup with fennel and saffron

Matt Harvey

Spice mix


Quantity Ingredient
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon chilli powder
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
1kg black mussels
15 king prawn tails, split in half
4 blue swimmer crabs, head and gills removed, cut in half
60ml olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 leek, finely chopped, white part only
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
2 small fennel bulbs, cut lengthwise into wedges
100ml white wine
1.5 litres good-quality chicken stock
2 ripe tomatoes, seeded and diced
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons celery leaves, roughly chopped
few sprigs thyme
100ml thickened cream
1-2 lemons, juiced
salt and pepper
extra-virgin olive oil


  1. Mix all the spices together.
  2. Scrub the mussels clean and pull away the beards. Discard any mussels that refuse to close after a sharp tap.
  3. Heat the oil in a large heavy-based saucepan and add the onion, leek, garlic, fennel and the spice mix. Stir over a medium heat for a few minutes, then tip in the mussels, prawns and crab, shaking the pan to move them around over the heat. Pour in the wine, cover the pan and turn up the heat. Steam for 3–4 minutes, shaking the pan vigorously from time to time.
  4. Remove the lid and stir around well. Pick out and discard any mussels that have stayed closed, then put the lid back on and steam for a further 2 minutes. Take the pan off the heat and remove the mussels, prawns and crab. Pick the meat from the body and claws of the crab and discard shells. Remove mussel meat from shells.
  5. Add chicken stock, tomatoes, parsley, celery leaves and thyme to the pan and put back on the heat. Bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Pour in the cream and lemon juice and lightly season with salt and pepper. Return the prawns, mussels and crab meat to the soup. Serve sprinkled with fruity extra-virgin olive oil.
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