Chefs' Recipes

Napier Quarter's mussels dressed with spring-onion and verjuice vinaigrette

A fresh take on steamed mussels.

By Eileen Horsnell
  • 20 mins preparation
  • 25 mins cooking (plus cooling, marinating)
  • Serves 6
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Napier Quarter's mussels dressed with spring-onion and verjuice vinaigrette
"We have access to so much amazing seafood in Melbourne," says Horsnell. "Portarlington produces the largest mussel harvest in Australia." Start this recipe a day ahead to marinate the mussels.


  • 1½ tsp fennel seeds
  • 1½ coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp celery seeds
  • 250 ml (1 cup) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 small golden shallots, thinly sliced
  • ¼ small fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • ¼ leek, white part only, thinly sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, finely grated
  • 75 ml verjuice
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) white wine vinegar
  • 2½ tsp caster sugar
  • 1 kg black mussels, scrubbed
  • 1 spring onion, thinly sliced
  • Finely grated zest of ½ lemon
  • Red vein sorrel microcress (optional, see note), to serve


  • 1
    Dry-roast fennel and coriander seeds in a small frying pan over low heat until lightly roasted (1-2 minutes). Transfer to a mortar with celery seed and finely grind with a pestle.
  • 2
    Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat, then add shallot, fennel, leek and garlic, and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender (7-8 minutes). Add verjuice, vinegar, sugar and ground spices, and season to taste. Stir to combine and warm through (20-30 seconds). Cool.
  • 3
    Bring mussels barely to a simmer in a saucepan of cold salted water over low heat, removing mussels once they open (8-10 minutes). Cool briefly, then remove beards and discard the top half of the shell.
  • 4
    Add spring onion and lemon zest to verjuice vinaigrette. Pour over mussels and refrigerate to marinate (overnight).
  • 5
    Serve mussels in the shell with extra vinaigrette spooned on top and scattered with sorrel.


Red vein sorrel microcress is a nice garnish, but flat-leaf parsley, dill or fennel fronds will also work. Mussels keep well refrigerated and can be made 2 to 3 days ahead.