Chef Graham Botto of The Back Bay Grill in Portland shares his recipe for Apple & Fennel Soup with Smoked Mussels. The Back Bay Grill has been featured in the New York Times, Frommer's Guide to Vermont, Maine and New Hampshire, and Food Arts.

For more information on The Back Bay Grill click here: THE BACK BAY GRILL

Back Bay Grill Apple & Fennel Soup

Smoked Mussels, Curry Oil, Fresh Chives

For the Soup:
1ea. Spanish Onions-Diced
2ea. Fennel Bulbs-Diced
4ea. Granny Smith Apples-Peeled and Diced
1ea. Russet Potato-Diced
2Qt. Chicken or Vegetable Stock
2oz. Butter
TT Kosher Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper

In a pan with a heavy bottom, melt the butter, add the onions
and cook thoroughly with no color. Add the fennel and potatoes,
continue to sweat for about 5 min. Cook slowly to avoid any color.
Add the stock and bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and
add the apples. Allow to simmer until the fennel and potatoes are
soft and thoroughly cooked. Remove from the heat and allow to
cool slightly. Puree the soup in a blender. Try to remove mostly
solids and just enough stock to puree in the first batch. Add
remaining liquid to achieve your desired consistency. Strain the
pureed soup through a fine mesh sieve. Season with S&P and
heavy cream to your desired taste (about ΒΌ cup).

For the curry oil:
Place about 1oz. of curry powder in a small pan, combine
with about 2T of lime juice and 1T of fresh grated ginger. Toast
this mixture over a low heat, at first it will bind up very tightly.
Add about 1 cup of canola or grape seed oil, try to throughly mix
the curry "paste" into the oil. Warm the oil until you just start to
see it simmer, keep warm and allow to steep for an hour or so.
Strain the oil through a sieve and break any lumps. Reserve. The
curry will fall to the bottom, stir in before serving.

For the smoked mussels:
High quality smoked mussels are available at several local
fish markets, Browne Trading and Harbor Fish Market in

To smoke the mussels at home, start with fresh local mussels,
steam them until just open, be sure not to overcook. Carefully
remove the mussels from the shell, place them on a paper towel on
a plate and place uncovered in the refrigerator for an hour or so to
be sure they are as dry as possible. Smoke the mussels in a smoker
very briefly, we smoke them for about one minute.

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