Grilled Garlic Mussels Sweet Tomato Soup
Preheat the broiler to high. Peel and finely chop the onion and 2 cloves of garlic, then put them into a large saucepan on a medium heat with a lug of oil. Add the fennel seeds and chili flakes and cook for 5 minutes, or until softened. Tip in the tomatoes and add 2 cans’ worth of water, season with black pepper, bring to a boil, then simmer for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, put the mussels and a splash of water into another large saucepan on a high heat (tap any mussels that are open and if they don’t close, throw those ones away). Pop the lid on and cook, shaking after a couple of minutes, until all the mussels have opened (throw away any that remain closed) – don’t be tempted to overcook them, they should be plump and juicy. Hold a sieve over the soup and drain the mussels – in batches, if necessary – so all the liquid goes into the soup to add extra flavor.
Tip the mussels into a large roasting pan, then snap the top shells off, leaving the bottom shells and meaty mussels behind. Spread them out in one layer. Tear the bread into a food processor, add the Cheddar, the remaining garlic (peeled), the parsley (stalks and all) and a lug of oil, then blitz into rough bread crumbs. Evenly scatter them over the mussels and pop under the broiler for 5 to 8 minutes, or until crisp and golden. Blitz the soup with an immersion blender, season to perfection and serve on the side.