10.19.2011

Thai-Style Mussels

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As I write this post, I am also packing. Because at the end of this week, we will be heading to New England! Since fall refuses to come to Southern California, I have decided to go to fall.  But, I'm still here, and there's mussels to talk about. Delicious mussels in a broth of coconut and lemongrass.

Lemongrass was the driving factor here. We have so much of it growing. And I've been really bad about using it. I decided to pick the first recipe I saw in this month's Bon Appetit using the ingredient, and just go for it.

At first, I had trouble finding mussels. I went to my fish store, nothing. I checked out a few other stores, more nothing. I almost gave up, thinking they were not in season, but my determinated to use lemongrass motivated me to stop by Bristol Farms, and success! They not only had mussels, but at a good deal (for Bristol). Good deals always make me suspicious, but, I spoke to the seafood man behind the counter and he reassured me.

I love mussels steamed in white wine, with loads of fragrant garlic and butter. So, I was a bit nervous messing with such a simple and perfect meal. But, this recipe was pretty good. It was different. It took me a few mussels and several bread dips into the broth to appreciate the flavors, but as we polished off the platter, I was sold. I think next time, I would add a bit of Thai curry powder or paste,  and more garlic to really bring out the Thai flavors.
Thai-Style Mussels
Adapted from Bon Appetit
Serves 2 as a main dish

2 1/2 lbs of mussels, scrubbed and beards removed
1 can of coconut milk
2 stalks of lemongrass, minced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1-2 thai chiles, minced
handful of cilantro
salt and pepper
oil

1) Heat oil, I used grapeseed, in a heavy pot, and add lemongrass, garlic and chiles, cook for a few minutes, stirring frequently.
2) Add coconut milk, mussels, season, and cover. Steam mussels, stirring occasionally for 10 or so minutes.
3) When mussels have opened, remove from heat, add cilantro, and serve.

I like to serve the mussels in the pot I cooked them in. This way you don't have to wash another dish, and can enjoy all the broth and mussel juices. Make sure you have some good bread, and plenty of it. We ate this up with the husband's freshly baked sourdough. Delicious!

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