Packed with flavor, this dish is quick to put together and fun to eat!
I’ve wanted to make mussels for a while but never hit it right at the fish market. This week I got lucky and found some beautiful ones, and my fish monger told me how she likes to cook them the best. Not really a recipe, but she said to use garlic, ginger, lemon grass, scallions, a spicy red pepper, and coconut milk.
Use lots of cilantro?
She also said to use lots of cilantro, but I’m one of those persons who not only thinks it tastes like soap, but the smell of it in large concentrations makes me feel queasy! She also told me she used to feel the same way but “grew out of it!” So, there is hope.
Of course, since I was looking for lemon grass, it was not to be found! I substituted a lemon and its zest and it worked well, but I’m sure the lemon grass would have been better.
Shrimp stock to the rescue
I had some shrimp stock tucked in the freezer, and I was glad it was there. It was a simple stock I made by boiling the shells of 1 lb. of shrimp with a bay leaf for 30 minutes. I let it sit until cool, then strained and froze. I like to keep this on hand in two-cup freezer containers.
You can also use stock from the fish market or grocery store.Or, use vegetable stock or the wine with a splash of fish sauce. I actually used half stock and half wine this time. Either way, you will end up with an extremely flavorful broth, perfect for dunking some toasted bread. As the mussels open, they release their own juices to the mix as well.
Thai Coconut Mussels
- 3 lbs. mussels
- 1 tbsp. coconut oil
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1-inch piece of ginger, minced
- 5 scallions, sliced
- Sliced hot pepper or large pinch crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 cup fish stock or white wine
- 1 can light coconut milk
- Zest and juice of one lemon
- ½ cup flat-leafed parsley or cilantro, chopped
Prep the mussels. Remove any beards (use a towel and give a good tug) and scrub them. If any are open, give them a gentle tap. If it slowly closes, the mussel is good. Discard any that do not close, and any that are broken. Set aside.
In a large pot, heat coconut oil over medium high and add the garlic, ginger, the sliced whites of the scallions, and the red pepper flakes. Cook for a minute or two and add the mussels and wine.
Add the fish stock and gently dump in the mussels. Cover and let cook for two minutes and check. If some of the mussels have opened, remove just those to a bowl and keep warm. Check the rest every half minute or so and take out any that have opened.
Once they have all opened, add the coconut milk, zest and juice, and the parsley. Give a good few grinds of fresh black pepper and return the mussels to the pot to rewarm.
Serve with baguette slices for dunking, or a little rice in the broth if you have it on hand.
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