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One specific dish, for me, stands out that can make a typical everyday meal something special. Moules as they are called in France, are wonderful, simple little creatures.
Mussels are great if you want to try different flavor combinations as they take flavors well, and there is no need to be frightened, mussels may look odd and unusual, but they are harmless and delicious. They make an interesting presentation with little effort and nothing is more communal than friends grouped around the table with a large bowl of mussels.
I made this dish using mussel stock for an added flavor boost in replacement for fish sauce. I think that the fish sauce would have overpowered the mussels. I wanted to taste the mussels and not the pungent fish sauce. This was solely based on personal preference and fish sauce would still be a great addition in you so choose.
Coconut Curry Mussels Recipe
2 Tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup shallots, diced
4 large garlic cloves, minced
1 ½ Tablespoons yellow curry paste
1 cup mussel stock -or- dry white wine [mussels stock used here]
1 can coconut milk
2 pounds mussels, de-bearded and scrubbed
Cilantro [for garnishing]
1. Sauté shallots on medium-low heat until tender, approximately 3-5 minutes.
2. Add garlic and curry paste, cook for another minute or so until fragrant and garlic loses its raw aroma.
3. Pour in mussel stock or wine and bring to a gentle simmer.
4. Add mussels and cover pot. Cook until mussels open, discarding unopened ones.
5. Pour in coconut milk and shake pan covered until coconut milk is mix in, heat through.
Adjust seasoning by adding sea salt or fish sauce and garnish with fresh cilantro leaves. If you like your curries to be an inferno on the palate, simply add some hot chili sauce or some chopped up chilies along with the curry paste.
Mussel Stock Recipe
2 pounds mussels
½ small onion, diced
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 small bay leaf
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
4 large garlic cloves, smashed
1 large ripe tomato, chopped
1. Place all ingredients into a stock pot and just cover with approximately 4 cups of water.
2. Bring just to a simmer and reduce heat and gently simmer for 15-20 minutes.
3. Strain stock and chill rapidly. Store in refrigerator for two days