Steamed mussels are the taste of summer and we might be eating ours in Cornish coves or Highland hideaways this year, but that doesn’t mean they won’t taste as incredible as ever with a hunk of crusty bread, salty butter and a sea view. This saffron-infused version by Viking Ocean, one of the many cruise lines staycationing in UK seas this summer, is dotted with crabmeat for a little extra somethin’ somethin’.


  • 22g unsalted butter
  • 15g shallot, minced
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • 180g fennel bulb, finely chopped
  • 150g piquillo pepper or roasted red pepper, drained & minced
  • Salt to taste
  • 59g dry vermouth, like Cinzano
  • 355g heavy cream
  • 2 pinches saffron threads
  • 200g lump crabmeat, picked over for cartilage
  • 4 dozen live mussels, scrubbed and debearded
  • Fennel fronds, chopped


Melt butter in a large pot with a tight-fitting lid over medium heat. Add shallot, garlic, fennel bulb, peppers and salt, stirring often, until fennel has softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in vermouth and cook until almost entirely evaporated. Add heavy cream and saffron; bring to a boil; reduce heat to low. Add crab and mussels; stir to combine. Cover and simmer 3-4 minutes, or until mussels open. Transfer mussels to bowls; spoon liquid and vegetables over them, and garnish with chopped fennel fronds.