Elegant Thai mussels in minutes

Coconut, lime, ginger, garlic and a hint of chili. It's Bangkok on a plate.This is one of my favourite ways to prepare mussels. It is truly foolproof! For years I have used delicious cultivated mussels from Prince Edward Island. They are easy to find, clean, and prepare. Here in Atlanta, mussels are small and unsatisfying – even in the best seafood restaurants. Why? I do not know, and can’t seem to find out. So I experimented with huge frozen New Zealand mussels. Either way, I love this dish, and so do all my friends. Try it and delight your friends. It’s so easy — and yet so fabulous.

Scrub fresh mussels under cold water. Most cultivated mussels will already be pretty clean and need nothing more than good rinse. If they have a “beard” or scraggly piece of seaweed hanging on them, I pull it off with needle-nose pliers. I find this is the best thing to use for the job. If you don’t have a pair, sturdy tweezers work well too.
 
Throw out any mussel that does not close completely when you hit it on the counter; it could be dangerous to eat.
 
If you are using the big frozen NZ mussels — and they are good! — defrost them almost completely. Rinse them in cold water right before cooking.
 
In a big pot place:
1-3 Thai or Bird chilies (use 1for slightly not more for spicy hot)
1 to 3 stalks of lemon grass, bruised, or the peel or freshly-washed lemon cut into strips.
1 handful of clean chiffonaded Thai or regular basil, and 1 handful of cilantro leaves, removed from the stems.
3-4 clove of sliced garlic (sliced very fine)
1 inch finely-sliced ginger
1 tbsp. green Thai curry paste
 
Sauté in 2 tsp of oil until fragrant.  Do not burn!
Add the mussels.
 
Add 1 can of coconut milk
2 tsp. Thai fish sauce
Juice of one lemon
2tsp. sugar or 1 pkg. of Splenda
 
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer and steam mussels for 6 to 8 minutes – or until they all open. For large frozen NZ mussels, steam 5 minutes to permeate.
 
Serve as a Tapas dish or with steamed jasmine rice and a Thai mango salad for dinner.
 
Try this. It is wonderful, easy to make, and it really does taste like Bangkok on a plate.
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