"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
- 1Dry-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.
- 2Heat 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.
- 3Bring 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.
- 4Add spring onion and lemon zest to verjuice vinaigrette. Pour over mussels and refrigerate to marinate (overnight).
- 5Serve 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.