Mussels with fennel, blood oranges, and pernod

Contributed by Preston Maring, MD

Mussels with fennel, blood oranges, and pernod

This is a quote from Reyna Del Haro, Area Director of Public Affairs, at the Baldwin Park Kaiser Permanente facility in East L.A.

“Well, we did it! The Farmer’s Market today was an incredible hit. As a matter of fact, Cal Poly sold out so fast that they had to run back to the campus (twice) to bring in more items. Everyone here loved it, so I think the future of the market looks prosperous.”

It sounds like Kaiser Permanente’s relationship with Cal Poly at Pomona will be fruitful.

This week’s recipe is simple, tasty and goes well with French bread and a salad. Blood oranges are in season and available from the Lone Oak Ranch. Pick up the fennel at the Happy Boys Farm. Valencia oranges or tangerines would also work well. This fresh and seasonal dish is a treat.


  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 large shallot, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 large fennel bulb, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1-1/2 tsp fennel seeds, toasted and ground
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup fresh blood orange juice
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 lbs mussels, scrubbed and de-bearded
  • 2 Tbsp Pernod
  • 1 tsp blood orange zest
  • Freshly ground pepper


Toast the fennel seeds in a heavy skillet until slightly browned. When cool, crush or grind them. Using 1 Tbsp olive oil, cook the onion, shallot, garlic and fennel until the vegetables are softened. Add the fennel seeds, red pepper flakes, salt, orange juice and wine. Bring to a boil and reduce by half. Add the mussels. Cover and simmer until the mussels open, about 4 minutes. Discard uncooperative mussels that don’t open. Stir in the Pernod, orange zest and the remaining 2 Tbsp olive oil. Season with a little freshly ground pepper.