½ x 375g pack ready-rolled puff pastry
150ml/¼pt white wine
1kg/2lb 4oz mussels in their shells, cleaned and debearded
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, sliced
4 sticks celery, sliced
1 star anise
1 strip peeled orange zest
2 bay leaves
juice ½ lemon
200-250g punnet cherry tomatoes, halved
pinch cayenne pepper or crushed dried chillies
350g/12oz peeled Atlantic prawns
25g-50g/1-2oz butter, to taste
Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Lay the pastry (a piece about 18cm x 23cm) on a lightly ﬂoured surface. Cut into 4 rectangles (see Gary’s tip, below). Place on a baking sheet and bake for about 15 mins until golden and puffy.
Meanwhile, pour the wine and 450ml/16ﬂ oz water (see Gary’s tip below) into a large, deep pan and bring to a boil. Tip in the cleaned mussels and cover with a lid. After a couple of mins, remove the lid and stir the mussels until they open. Any refusing to open should be discarded. Drain the mussels in a colander, saving the juices. Remove the mussels from the shells, keeping some shells if you like, to use when serving the soup.
Warm the olive oil in the pan, then add the sliced onion, celery, star anise, orange zest, bay leaves, saffron and lemon juice. Cook over a moderate heat without colouring the vegetables, stirring occasionally, until completely tender, 12-15 mins.
Strain the mussel cooking liquor through a ﬁne sieve over the vegetables, and bring to a simmer. Add the tomatoes, season with a pinch of cayenne pepper or crushed chillies and simmer for a few mins to soften the tomatoes. Spoon the mussels and prawns into the soup, stir in your preferred quantity of butter and heat to just below simmering point – you don’t want to overcook the ﬁsh. Sprinkle in some chopped parsley to ﬁnish, and serve in bowls with a pastry lid perched on top of each.