3 pounds mussels
2 tablespoons blended oil
3 leeks, white part only, thinly sliced
1 fennel bulb, sliced lengthwise in strips
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 cups dry white wine
1/4 cup Pernod
2 teaspoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
3 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
Clean the mussels under cold water, removing the beards and any dirt on the shell, and dry thoroughly.
Heat the oil in a large saute pan and add the leeks and fennel. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Saute until the leeks start to turn translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and mussels and stir well. Add the white wine and Pernod and cover the pan. Cook slowly over medium heat until the mussels start to open up, 5 to 6 minutes. Remove the lid add the herbs and the butter, and cook for 2 more minutes. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning as needed. (Mussels can hold saltwater inside, so be careful not to oversalt.)
Food for thought: Serve the mussels with grilled French bread to soak up the juices!