Discover the depth of fresh mussel flavour with this creamy soup.
200ml/7fl oz white wine
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 shallots, roughly chopped
4 garlic cloves, 3 roughly chopped, 1 whole
1 leek, roughly chopped
large pinch saffron
250ml/9floz fish stock
150ml/5floz double cream
1 free-range egg yolk
1 courgette, julienned
4 slices ciabatta bread
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 tbsp chopped flatleaf parsley
Heat a saucepan over a medium heat until hot.
Add the mussels, white wine and cover the pan with its lid. Steam for 2-3 minutes, or until all of the mussels have opened. (Discard any mussels that have not opened.)
Strain the mussels through a fine sieve into a bowl. Reserve the cooking liquid.
Using your hands, discard the shells from all of the mussels and set the mussel flesh aside.
Return the pan the mussels were cooked in to the heat and add 25g/1oz of the butter. When the butter is foaming, add the shallots, one chopped garlic clove and the leek and fry for 1-2 minutes, or until just softened. Add the saffron, stir well and continue to cook for a further 2-3 minutes.
Add the reserved cooking liquid and the fish stock. Stir well and bring the mixture to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 2-3 minutes, or until the vegetables are just tender.
Add three quarters of the mussels to the pan and stir carefully.
Let the soup cool, then transfer to a food processor in batches and blend to a purée.
Pass the blended mussel soup through a fine sieve and return the sieved liquid to the pan. Add the double cream then cook gently until heated through. Whisk in the egg yolk and cook for a further minute, or until the soup has thickened. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Heat a frying pan until medium hot, add the remaining butter and the courgettes and fry for 2-3 minutes, or until just softened. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Heat a griddle pan until hot, rub the ciabatta bread with the olive oil then griddle for one minute on each side. Remove the bread and rub with the garlic clove. Mix the remaining chopped garlic clove and the parsley together in a bowl.
To serve, spoon the courgettes into the centre of serving bowls and ladle over with the soup. Garnish with the reserved mussels, ciabatta and a sprinkling of garlic parsley.
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