Food & Drink

Mussels and Fermented Jerusalem Artichokes

Gabriel Waterhouse, chef owner of the Water House Project, shares his signature mussel dish

Serves 2

Some of the preparations in this recipe will give you a larger quantity than you need for this dish but can be kept in the fridge and used again over a period of weeks and months. The dish is best served with sourdough to mop up the broth.

For the fermented artichokes – at least 2 weeks in advance.

If you choose not to ferment – you can finely dice an artichoke on the day



1kg Jerusalem artichokes (finely sliced)

1 ltr water

20g salt


For the preserved lemon

6 thick skinned lemons 1ltr water

35g salt

1kg sugar

750ml water

2 cloves garlic

3 bay leaves

1/2 vanilla pod

3 star anise


To cook the mussels

1 kg mussels (we use St. Austell’s which come from Cornwall or Shetland from Scotland)

1 shallot (sliced)

2 tbsp fennel seeds

3 star anise

2 bay leaves

1 crushed garlic clove

2 sprigs thyme

1 glug of olive oil

175ml white wine


For the mussel broth

Stock from mussels (passed through sieve)

150ml double cream

Juice of 1 lemon

50ml preserved lemon stock (from above recipe)

4g salt


For the chive oil

1 bunch of chives (20g)

100ml olive oil


Fermented artichokes

Scrub the artichokes clean then finely slice them to 5mm thickness. Sterilise a kilner jar by first removing the rubber seal then heating it in the oven at 160 °C for 10 minutes. Mix 20g table salt with 1 ltr of water until dissolved. Remove the jar from the oven and once cool place the sliced artichokes inside. Pour the salt water over the top and place a section of parchment or clingfilm inside the jar, covering the artichokes. Submerge them under the water using a small weight such as a stone or baking beads wrapped in clingfilm. Seal the jar and store in a cool place. Over the coming days and weeks, gently open and close the jar to ‘burp’ it. This will allow the carbon dioxide gas to escape as the fermentation process takes place. When the jar stops ‘burping’ the artichokes are ready.

Preserved lemons

Cut the top and bottoms of the lemons and portion into 6 wedges. Place the lemons into a pan with the water and salt and bring to a simmer for 1 hour until tender – it’s worth cutting a piece of the lemon skin and tasting it for the right texture, it should be tender and easy to bite without being mushy. Pass the lemons through a colander to drain the water, then return them to the same pan adding the sugar, water, garlic cloves, bay leaves, vanilla pod and star anise. Bring to a simmer once more, remove from the heat and leave to cool at room temperature. Store the lemons with their cooking liquid in sealed containers or Kilner jars in the fridge. These can be kept for up to 6 months.

Chive oil

In a jug blender, blend the chives and oil for 5 minutes until the oil begins to steam. Set a piece of j-cloth / muslin cloth or tea towel over a sieve and pass the oil through, collecting the oil in a container below.


Clean the mussels by running them under cold water for 5 minutes, removing any large bits of seaweed with your hands, then drain them through a colander. Over a gentle heat, heat the olive oil sweating the shallot, fennel seeds, star anise, garlic and thyme for several minutes until soft. Turn up the heat adding the white wine and bring to the boil. Drop the mussels into the pan and place a sealed lid on top, give the pan a quick shake and cook for 3-4 minutes. The mussels are cooked once opened fully.

Remove the lid and using your hands separate the mussels from their shells, you can discard the shells. Pass the stock through a fine sieve into a sauce pan, return the mussel flesh into the stock pan and cover with the cream, preserved lemon cooking liquid, lemon juice and salt. Finally dice a handful of fermented / raw artichokes and 4 preserved lemon skins and add to the pan.

To Serve

Gently reheat the mussels in the broth until warmed through, checking the seasoning with salt and lemon juice. Add a few spoonfuls of chive oil to the pan ‘splitting’ the cream. Spoon the mussels into your bowl by pouring over the remaining stock and spooning over a little more chive oil.