A recipe on the lighter side – Spicy Thai Steamed Mussels

In January I start to crave dishes that are a bit lighter than the holiday fare, aren’t too fussy to make, and are warm and satisfying. Seafood usually fits that bill well, and especially mussels. Last weekend I made this dish, it was easy and delicious, and I remembered to get some good bread to dip in the sauce. The full recipe is below the photos.

First, check your mussels to make sure they are all still alive. If they are open, tap them gently on the table, and if they close up they are fine. Discard those that remain open, and those whose shells are broken. Then, put them in a bowl of cool water to soak for 20 to 30 minutes, this helps get rid of any sand the mussels may be holding inside their shells.

Then rinse the mussels, scrub them lightly if it seems like they need it, and remove any “beard” – little threads hanging out of the shells where they join – but most mussels that you buy will already have these removed.

While the mussels are soaking, you can put together the sauce you will cook them in.

Rinsing the mussels

Rinsing the mussels

The cooking sauce

The cooking sauce

When the sauce has boiled for a couple minutes, in go the mussels, covered, for another 5 to 8 minutes – stir them occasionally, to check to see if they are all open. Once they are open, they’re done! Put them in a serving dish, sprinkle with fresh cilantro (if desired), and dig in. Serve with good bread.

Mussels in the pot

Mussels in the pot

Dinner!

Dinner!

Spicy Thai Steamed Mussels
To serve 6

INGREDIENTS:

5 pounds mussels
3 limes (enough for 1/3 cup fresh juice)
1 can unsweetened coconut milk (13.5 oz)
1/3 cup dry white wine
1-1/2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste (or less, to taste)
1-1/2 tablespoons minced fresh garlic
1 tablespoon asian fish sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
2 cup fresh cilantro
lime wedges to accompany
bread to accompany

METHOD:

Scrub mussels well and remove beards. Squeeze enough juice from limes for 1/3 cup. In an 8-quart kettle boil the lime juice, coconut milk, wine, curry paste, garlic, fish sauce, and sugar over high heat, stirring, 2 minutes. And mussels, tossing to combine. Cook mussles, covered, stirring occasionally, until opened, about 5 to 8 minutes. (Discard any unopened mussels.) Chop cilantro and toss with mussels. Serve mussels with lime wedges and good bread.