Steamed mussels with fennel and Point Reyes blue cheese

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Next we move from crustaceans to shellfish. At the Santa Monica Farmers' Market, Laura Avery shops with Brian Sheard, chef at Taste on Melrose, as he picks up fennel to be sauteed and added to a dish of steamed mussels, Point Reyes blue cheese and white wine sauce. Sheard says the fennel grown this time of year is the most flavorful. He makes use of the entire plant, from bulb to feathery top. Find the recipe for those dreamy mussels with fennel, Point Reyes blue and grilled garlic crostini on the Good Food blog.

Laura also gets a primer on growing fennel from Mark Carpenter of Coastal Farms. Fennel is indigenous to the shores of the Mediterranean so it's perhaps not surprising that it tastes incredible with fish. Fennel doesn't grow well in hot weather so Carpenter grows his crops during the cooler times of the year. He harvests once at the end of summer, once during the fall and once in the spring.

Music: "Hit 'Em Up" (instrumental) by 2Pac