Those of you who know me, know that I have a rambunctious puppy named Mussels. Why Mussels? Well, we wanted to name her something food-related and she was the runt of the litter. We thought Mussels would be funny. Little did we know, Mussels is the perfect name for a 10-pound terrier who thinks she’s a 90-pound Pit Bull. She sure is cute though!
Another reason for the name: we love mussels. You know, the bivalves. They’re briny and tender and are usually accompanied by a slurp-worthy bowl of broth. And this broth was definitely worth slurping. Coconut milk and curry paste, cilantro and lime. It was even better than the chorizo-infused broth I usually make. You know it’s good if I prefer it to chorizo.
If you’re not into mussels, this broth would also be a very delicious way to poach shrimp, or eat with noodles, or drink from a cup…
2 pounds live mussels (about 6 dozen), cleaned and debearded*
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 large (or 2 small) shallot, finely diced
3 tbsp. Thai red curry paste
2 15-oz. cans of coconut milk (lite is ok)
1 cup chicken stock
juice of 1 lime
1 tbsp. finely chopped cilantro stems
1 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. soy sauce
2 tsp. fish sauce
1 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves
Set a really big pot** over medium heat. Once it’s hot, melt the butter and saute the shallots for 5 – 7 minutes, or until they begin to turn translucent. Add the curry paste and half the chicken stock. Use a spoon to break dissolve the curry paste into the stock.
Add the rest of the stock, the coconut milk, cilantro stems, sugar, soy sauce, fish sauce, lime juice and coriander. Bring to a simmer and cover for about 5 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed.
Raise the heat to medium high and add the mussels. Toss the mussels in the broth, then cover and let steam for about 5 minutes, checking to see when they open. Remove each mussel once it’s open to make sure you don’t overcook them. Some may not open and those should be discarded.
When you’ve removed all the mussels, serve them in bowls and add a few generous ladlefuls of broth. Sprinkle with cilantro leaves.
Makes 2 servings as a main. Maybe 4 if you don’t eat as much as we do :)
*A mussel’s beard is a small bunch of fibers sticking out of the shell in one place. Give them a hard tug with a pair of pliers to remove the beard.