Perfect as a shared starter to a summer's meal, this seafood recipe is also a most fitting celebratory dish when served with well-chilled La Motte Méthode Cap Classique on your festive table. Refreshing with crisp notes and the beautiful flavours of fermentation, the 2016 La Motte Méthode Cap Classique beautifully complements the richness and freshness of this seafood salad.
Recipe for seafood salad
500 g calamari tubes, cleaned
1 kg octopus tentacles, cleaned
2 kg mussels, cleaned and steamed
1 kg white fish, e.g. angel fish, cleaned and pin-boned
For the octopus: Place octopus in deep sauce-pot and add 3 litres of fish stock, 1 bottle of white wine, 100 ml good quality olive oil, zest of 2 lemons and a bunch of fresh thyme. Bring to a boil, lower the heat to a slow simmer and cook until tender, about 3 – 4 hours.
For the mussels: Once the mussels have been cleaned and their beards have been removed, they can be steamed. Place a mixture of chopped onion, fennel bulbs, garlic, celery and leeks into a deep sauce-pot and cook over high heat. Add mussels and half a bottle of white wine, cover with a tight-fitting lid and steam for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and strain off cooking liquid (reserve liquid to cook fennel bulbs). Remove half the mussels from their shells; keep the others in the shells. Discard any mussels that did not open in the steaming process.
Once all the seafood has been prepared, toss with good quality olive oil, salt and white pepper and a squeeze of lime juice.
Grill on a hot griddle pan until nicely seared and cooked. The mussels can be done separately and need a few seconds on the grill to heat up.
Recipe for salad
6 small fennel bulbs
60 g unsalted butter
30 ml olive oil
2 tablespoons castor sugar
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
Reserved mussel liquid
Zest and juice of 6 limes
50 g fresh fennel, roughly chopped
Maldon salt and ground white pepper to taste
Additional limes and olive oil to finish
Prepare the fennel bulbs by cutting off the bottoms of the roots and the leafy front parts.
Remove any tough or brown outer layers, making sure that the base holds.
Cut each fennel bulb length-ways into thick slices.
Heat a saucepan and place the olive oil and half the butter into it. Once the butter starts to brown, add the fennel (to brown the slices nicely, this should be done over high heat).
Turn the slices to brown evenly (do not over crowd the pan, and fry the fennel slices in batches).
Add the sugar, fennel seeds, lime zest, garlic, salt and pepper to the pan and caramelise.
Return the fennel to the pan with the caramel and toss through, then add a cup of the mussel liquid and some lime-juice and the rest of the butter.
Chef’s note: Place the warm fennel salad on a serving dish and arrange the warm seafood on top of it. Scatter some roughly chopped fresh fennel over the top and drizzle with lime-juice and olive oil.