Artichoke and Mussel Bisque

Ingredients

3 whole artichokes
1 bulb fennel, trimmed and diced
1 onion, chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 quarts water to cover
salt and pepper to taste
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon margarine
1 pound mussels – cleaned and debearded
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 lemon, juiced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Directions

Remove the hearts and stems from the artichokes and discard the leaves. Chop the hearts and stems and place them in a large pot over low heat with the fennel and onion. Add the cream, just enough water to cover all, and salt and pepper to taste. Let this simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until tender.

Meanwhile, rinse and de-beard the mussels. In a separate large saucepan over medium low heat, sweat the garlic in the butter or margarine for 30 seconds. Add the cleaned mussels and the wine, cover and let simmer for 5 minutes. Remove the mussels and reserve the liquid. (Note: Be careful not to brown the garlic.)

Transfer the vegetable mixture to a blender and puree until smooth. Add the lemon juice, reserved mussel liquid and season with salt and pepper to taste. Strain this mixture through a fine mesh strainer and top each serving with some mussels. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley.