Poached Fennel Mussels
and Charcoal Ciabatta
  • Description:

    This recipe calls for loads of fresh fennel and a dash of cream, and can be decadently lapped up with helpings of the charcoal ciabatta. Recipe provided courtesy of Cathedral Cellar wines. (Serves 4)

  • Ingredients:

    For the black charcoal ciabatta:
    1kg stoneground flour
    1 sachet instant dry yeast
    4 tbsp. activated charcoal
    1 tsp. salt
    1 tbsp. muscovado sugar
    2 tbsp. scorched and crushed coriander seeds
    100ml good quality olive oil
    650ml warm water
    100g of black sesame seeds


    For the poached fennel mussels:
    1kg fresh West Coast mussels; cleaned (Do not put into fresh water)
    1 large white onion; finely chopped
    4 garlic cloves; finely chopped
    1 medium-sized fennel bulb with the leaves; finely chopped
    2 tbsp. olive oil

    250ml (1 cup) Cathedral Cellar Chardonnay
    250ml (1 cup) fresh cream
    Salt and pepper to taste
    20g (1 punnet) dill leaves; finely chopped

  • Method:

    For the black charcoal ciabatta:

    Place the flour, yeast, charcoal, salt, sugar and coriander seeds in a blender with a paddle attachment and mix through slowly on low speed. Start adding the oil and then the warm water until all is combined. Then, turn up to full speed. This is a very wet dough but don't be concerned. Beat the dough at high speed until the gluten starts to develop long strands and all the dough has pulled away from the sides and collected around the paddle.
     Turn the dough out into a bowl greased with olive oil, cover with cling film, place in a warm area and let it double in size. Turn out onto a well-floured surface and sprinkle with some flour and black sesame seeds.
    Cut into smaller rolls or use as one big loaf without handling the dough too much and breaking up the yeast bubbles. Bake at 200°C for about 25 to 35 minutes until done. Serve immediately or let it rest and warm just before serving.

    For the poached fennel mussels:

    Fry the onion, garlic and fennel in the olive oil until well cooked and slightly browned. Add the Cathedral Cellar Chardonnay and bring to the boil.
     Add the mussels and cook for approx. 5 minutes or until the mussels open up. Add the cream and seasoning and mix through.
    Sprinkle the chopped dill over the mussels and serve.