This dish makes a luxurious main course, the ground fennel and fresh mint giving it a distinctive Turkish edge. Serve with hot red pepper paste. This recipe is from by Greg and Lucy Malouf.
- 250 gm long-grain or basmati rice (1¼ cups)
- 500 ml chicken stock (2 cups)
- 30 ml olive oil
- 1 large shallot, finely diced
- 15 strands saffron
- ½ tsp ground fennel seeds
- Pinch sea salt
- 12 mussels, scrubbed and bearded
- 6 red mullet fillets, halved crosswise
- 6 raw king prawns, split and cleaned
- Generous pinch freshly ground black pepper
- 1 large vine-ripened tomato, seeded and diced
- 2 tbsp each chopped dill and mint leaves
- 50 gm butter
- 1Put the rice into a large bowl and rinse well under cold running water, working your fingers through it to loosen the starch. Drain off the milky water and repeat until the water runs clear. Cover the rice with cold water and leave to soak for 10 minutes. Drain the rice and rinse a final time.
- 2Bring the stock to the boil, then lower the heat and keep at a simmer.
- 3Heat the oil in a heavy-based saucepan. Add the shallot, saffron and fennel and sauté over a low–medium heat until the shallot softens. Gently stir in the rice, so that all the grains are coated with the oil. Pour on the simmering stock and season lightly with salt. Stir, bring to the boil, then cover with a tight-fitting lid and cook over a very low heat for 10 minutes.
- 4Remove the lid and add the mussels, pushing them down into the rice. Distribute the fish and prawns evenly over and between the mussels. Season lightly with salt, then add the pepper, scatter on the tomatoes and herbs, and dot with pieces of butter.
- 5Replace the lid and steam for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, then slide a clean, folded tea towel under the lid and leave it for 10 minutes.
- 6To serve, tip the rice onto a serving platter. Stir gently so that the seafood and herbs are evenly distributed.