Thursday, November 29, 2012

Coconut Curry Mussels

296: Coconut curried mussels

I had rather a lot to do tonight to prep for that pickle seminar I'm teaching at work next week. I started kimchi and gravlax tonight, woo! But that means I needed a fast dinner. Mussels may seem labor intensive (and ok, if you get a grubby batch they might require a fair amount of scrubbing) but they cook in five minutes or less. How can you beat that?

Coconut Curry Mussels
serves 2

I'm a big fan of moules frites, that is mussels and french fries, but this was supposed to be one of those quick and easy type dinners and I didn't feel like frying, so I just halved some fingerling potatoes, tossed them with some oil and salt and stuck them in a 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes. I mixed some sriracha and mayonnaise together and we dipped the taters in that. That and some sliced baguette (you know, for extra starch) to sop up the unspeakably delicious sauce  in the bottom of the pot and you've got dinner.

PS, the deal with mussels is if they are open and do not close when you tap them, don't eat them. Once they are cooked, don't eat the ones that remain closed. I don't soak mussels or anything (soaking saltwater creatures in fresh water will only suffocate them, yes?), I just scrub them under cold running water right before I want to eat them.

2 lbs mussels, scrubbed, beards removed if necessary
1 onion, diced
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon thai red curry paste (or more to taste)
1 teaspoon chili garlic paste (or more to taste)
1 14.5 ounce coconut milk
1 large handful cilantro, chopped

Heat a large heavy pot with a tight fitting lid over medium high heat. Add the oil then the onion and saute until the onion is translucent. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant. Add the chili paste and curry paste and stir stir stir until well distributed, cook for another minutes. Add the coconut milk - shake the can before you open it, and be sure to scoop any clumps into the pan, they'll melt down.

Bring the sauce to a simmer. You can turn the heat down and let it cook for a few minutes if you need to finish scrubbing the mussels; it's ok if it thickens up a bit. Once you're ready with the mussels, turn the heat back up to medium high, wait for the liquid to bubble assertively, and add the mussels. Stir to distribute the mussels, then cover the pot. The mussels will open when they have cooked, check them after four minutes, and if only a few have opened, stir them to redistribute (or put the lid back on and shake the pan - mine's too heavy for that) and cook another minute. Remove the lid, add the cilantro and stir, then serve with bread for sopping and potatoes if you like.

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