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Steamed Mussels with Alyssum and Tomato Fennel Relish

Serves 8


    These mussels make an elegant and alluring cold appetizer that will stretch to feed a crowd. The classic combination of fennel and tomatoes is enlivened with a floral vinegar, prepared in advance. Alyssum has a peppery, aniselike flavour and, like fennel, pairs well with tomatoes.


    All in the family

    Alyssum is related to the cabbage family Brassiceae, so you might also substitute kale flowers in this recipe. Brassicas have been shown to have a positive role in the prevention of cancer.


    Steamed Mussels with Alyssum and Tomato Fennel Relish


      Floral vinegar
      • 8 to 10 mixed edible flower heads, such as marigold, calendula, viola, bachelor’s buttons, and alyssum
      • 1/3 cup (80 mL) apple cider vinegar
      • 1/2 cup (125 mL) very finely diced fennel (reserve stalks)
      • 1/2 cup (125 mL) very finely diced tomato
      • 1 tsp (5 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
      • 2 Tbsp (30 mL) Floral Vinegar
      • 1 Tbsp (15 mL) fennel fronds
      • 2 tsp (10 mL) chopped mint
      • 1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt
      • 1/2 tsp (2 mL) black pepper
      • 1 lb (450 g) mussels, scrubbed, beards removed
      • 20 to 30 alyssum flower sprigs, for garnish


      Per serving:

      • calories118
      • protein14 g
      • total fat4 g
        • sat. fat1 g
      • total carbohydrates6 g
        • sugars1 g
        • fibre1 g
      • sodium479 mg



      For Floral Vinegar, in Mason jar, combine edible flowers and vinegar. Close lid and store in a cool, dark place for 24 hours.


      Combine fennel, tomato, olive oil, 2 tbsp (30 ml) Floral Vinegar, fennel fronds, and mint. Season with salt and pepper and set aside to allow flavours to meld while you prepare mussels.


      In large pot, place reserved fennel stalks and 8 cups (2 L) boiling water. Add mussels, cover, and steam for 1 to 2 minutes until shells have opened. Using large, slotted spoon, remove mussels to large plate or bowl. Discard any mussels that do not open.


      Remove one side of shell of each mussel and top the shell containing the meat with tomato fennel relish. Place on large serving platter and garnish each mussel with a sprig of alyssum.



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