When we found out we could get great mussels at the little fish shop, it was game on. At under 5 bucks a pound, we would grab a bottle of white wine and a loaf of crusty bread and steam away. Recently, I've seen places like Mussel Bar in Bethesda get creative with their broths. I took license with their thai green curry version and created a spicy coconut and lemongrass based broth to steam open the mussels. I cleaned the mussels by getting rid of any open (bad) mussels, removing the beards, and soaking the mussels in water with a little flour added to help get rid of any grit.
I built the broth by first sauteing shallots, ginger, and garlic. Next, I added green curry paste from the can. Sarah? Using a prepared product? As many times as I've tried to replicate the flavor of curry paste, I haven't come close yet. Best leave that to the experts and focus on the mussels instead. I then added the zest and juice of 2 limes, a can of coconut milk, the same amount of stock, a bruised and knotted lemongrass stalk (ends trimmed, outer leaves removed), a smidge of honey, and a few whole stalks of thai basil. When all of the flavors had come together with a balance of spicy, sweet, sour, and salt from simmering over medium high heat for 5 minutes of so, I added the cleaned mussels, chopped thai basil and cilantro, covered and steamed until all of the shells had opened.
Serve with hunks of good dipping bread to get all of the yummy broth. We forgot bread so we toasted some english muffins and when we ran out of bread my mom and I just attacked the broth with spoons. No shame, it's THAT GOOD!
Mussels in Thai Green Curry Broth
1 pound mussels, cleaned
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoon ginger, minced
3 tablespoons shallots, minced
1 stalk lemongrass, bruised and tied in a knot
1-2 teaspoons green curry paste (more if you like it hot!)
2 limes, zest and juice
1 13.5 oz can of coconut milk
13.5 oz of stock (use the can to measure!)
handful of thai basil, chopped
handful of cilantro, chopped
optional - 1/4 teaspoon of fish sauce
little squirt of honey
salt and pepper to taste
Throw away any open mussels. Remove the beard (the stringy bit found by running your fingers along the opening) by pulling on it. Let soak in water with a just enough flour to make the water cloudy for at least a half an hour.
While the mussels are soaking, build the broth in a large pan with a lid. First, saute the minced garlic, ginger, and shallots in a little olive oil (or coconut oil!) over medium high heat until they begin to brown. Season with salt and pepper
Add the curry paste and lime zest and saute for another minute. Add the lime juice, coconut milk, stock, lemongrass knot, fish sauce, and a few stalks of thai basil. Let simmer for 5-10 minutes. Taste for seasoning, add honey if you need a little sweetness to balance the spice.
Add the cleaned mussels to the broth, top with the chopped thai basil and cilantro, and cover.
Cook until the mussels are all open (throw away any that don't open) and serve immediately with good bread for dipping. Or spoons . . .