Mussels with Pancetta and Creme Fraiche

2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
4 oz bacon finely chopped
½ red onion, finely chopped
1 celery rib, finely chopped
½ fennel bulb, chopped
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
¾ cup dry white wine
4 dozen mussels, scrubbed
1 ¼ cups fish stock, or ¾ cup clam juice plus ½ cup water
½ cup crème fraîche
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
½ cup packed parsley leaves
2 tbsp marjoram leaves
pinch of crushed red pepper
kosher salt
crusty bread, for serving

In a large enameled cast iron casserole, heat the oil. Add the pancetta and cook over moderately low heat until crisp, 5 minutes. Add the onion, celery, fennel, and garlic and cook, stirring, until softened, 7 minutes. Stir in the wine and simmer over moderately high heat until almost all of the liquid is evaporated, 3 minutes. Add the mussels and stock and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook until the mussels open, 4 minutes. Stir in the fraîche.

Off the heat, stir in the lemon juice, parsley, marjoram, and crushed red pepper. Season with salt and transfer to bowls. Serve with crusty bread.

Categories: Cooking with Chef Hermann