Mediterranean Mussel and Chickpea Soup with Fennel and Lemon


My wife, Angela, loves mussels, especially the fat, tender Mediterranean mussels you get in summer and early fall. Consequently, we eat a lot of them—steamed, in salads, with pastas, you name it. Light enough for a summer dish, this terrific soup is also delicious in the winter months made with Prince Edward Island (P.E.I.) mussels instead.


  • 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • Pinch of chile flakes
  • 1 12 lb. fresh mussels, debearded and scrubbed
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 cup chickpeas
  • 1 small bulb fennel, tough outer leaves removed, sliced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley


Step 1

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat, and add the garlic and chile flakes. Before the garlic colors, add the mussels and white wine. Increase the heat to high, cover, and let the mussels steam for 3 to 4 minutes, or until they just open. Discard any mussels that don't open and transfer the others to a baking dish with any cooking liquid that is in the pan. Set in the refrigerator until cool enough to handle. Once cool, remove the mussels from the shells, and discard the shells. (Note: You can keep the mussels in the fridge until ready to serve the soup, then proceed from this point.)

Step 2

In a medium-size saucepan, combine the mussels, cooking liquid, chickpeas, and sliced fennel and heat through. The fennel should retain a bit of a bite. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the lemon juice and parsley. Serve immediately.

This recipe is excerpted from Ethan Stowell's New Italian Kitchen by Ethan Stowell and Leslie Miller. Copyright (C) 2010 by Ethan Stowell. Excerpted by permission of Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc.

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