Mussels, Pancetta, Pernod Cream, Tarragon and Grilled Vegetables

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Penn Cove Mussels are all creamy and sweet in this recipe that uses cream and pancetta to craft this tasty side dish.  Or, turn it into the main event by serving it over pasta or rice!

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  • 1 # fresh Penn Cove Mussels
  • 1 ea fennel bulb
  • ½ small sweet onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped
  • ½ ea shallot, minced
  • 4 sprigs tarragon, picked and chopped
  • ½ cup pernod
  • ½ tsp fresh cracked black pepper
  • 4 oz small diced pancetta
  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ½ cup canola oil (some for vegetables, ¼ cup for cooking mussels)

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  • Clean the tops off the fennel bulb then quarter it, cut the root out and toss it in olive oil, sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper.
  • Cut the sweet onion into ½ inch wheels, brush with olive oil, season with sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper.
  • Turn your grill on high and char the onions and fennel, get good color but don’t burn them, cool and small dice.
  • In a high sided saute pan, add ¼ cup canola oil and the diced pancetta, heat it on medium heat to start to render the pancetta.
  • When the pancetta starts to caramelize, add the mussels and start to cook, season with sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper.
  • Stir the mussels gently and scrape the pan to remove all the flavor from the pancetta, when the mussels just start to open, add the garlic and shallots, stir gently for 30 seconds, just until the garlic becomes aromatic.
  • Add the onions and fennel, stir gently.
  • Deglaze with pernod, reduce by half, add the cream and tarragon and reduce by half until the cream begins to thicken.
  • Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper to your taste.

Serve with grilled bread or turn it into an entrée by mixing it with pasta or pouring it over rice