1.5 kg NZ Greenshell mussels (scrubbed and de-bearded, just before cooking)
400ml dry white wine
1 tbsp. olive oil
50g bacon, diced (optional)
1 small onion, finely diced
2 sticks celery, finely diced
½ tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp curry powder
1 sprig of thyme
1 bay leaf
1 can of corn, drained and rinsed
2 potatoes, peeled and diced
600ml fish stock
2 tbsp. parsley, chopped
4 tbsp. crème fraiche (optional)
Extra virgin olive oil
1. In a large pot, bring the white wine to simmer over a high heat. Add the mussels, cover with a lid and steam until all the mussels have opened.
2. Drain the mussels, reserving the cooking juices. Once the mussels are cool enough to handle, remove from the shell and roughly chop (Reserving some in the shell for garnish if you like). Set aside.
3. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium-low heat. Add the bacon, onion, & celery and gently sauté without colouring for 5 minutes. Add the cayenne, curry powder, thyme and bay leaf. Cook for 2 more minutes.
4. Add the corn kernels and diced potato to the saucepan, along with the mussel juice and stock. Bring to the boil, then simmer gently for 10 minutes, or until the potato is soft.
5. Add the cream, bring back up to the boil, then roughly blend with a hand blender (or cool slightly, then blend half the soup in a food processor).
6. Return the chowder to the saucepan. Add the chopped mussels and gently warm through.
7. Stir through half the chopped parsley, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
8. Divide the chowder between four hot bowls. Garnish with the reserved mussels in the shell, a tablespoon of crème fraiche, the remaining chopped parsley and a drizzle of olive oil. Serve.