Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes
1/2 loaf ciabatta, sliced ¾-inch thick
½ cup|125 ml olive oil
3 garlic cloves, 2 peeled and thinly sliced, 1 halved crosswise
1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced, fronds reserved for garnish
2 medium shallots, thinly sliced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 teaspoon ground saffron
1/4 cup Pernod
2 pounds|900 grams cleaned mussels
1 cup heavy cream
1. Brush the bread on both cut sides with 6 tablespoons oil. Heat a cast-iron grill pan over high. Add the bread and cook, flipping once, until charred, 5 minutes. Rub the cut-side of the cut garlic on the bread and season with salt. Set the toasts aside.
2. Heat the remaining oil in a large saucepan over medium-high. Add the sliced garlic, shallots, and fennel and cook until soft and lightly golden, 4 minutes. Add the saffron and season with salt and pepper. Cook 30 seconds, then pour in the Pernod. Cook 1 to 2 minutes until the Pernod has reduced slightly, then add in the mussels and cream. Cover and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook until the shells open, 4 minutes. Garnish with the fennel fronds and serve with the bread.