One of the perks of living in the same apartment complex as your best friend is that you always have a cooking partner. We have enjoyed playing chef and sous chef to one another for the last two years and will miss our time in the kitchen together. For one of our last home-cooked meals, we decided to try our hand at mussels after enjoying a delicious coconut curry version at Hinoki & the Bird. While the mussels are tasty, the best part is the flavorful broth -- either drinking it straight from a spoon or sopping it up with some thick crusty bread.
Spicy Coconut Mussels with Lemongrass
(adapted from this recipe)
2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
1 shallot, finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 stalks of lemon grass, trimmed and finely chopped
1 serrano pepper, finely chopped
1 12.8 oz can unsweetened coconut milk
2 pounds fresh mussels, scrubbed and rinsed well
Zest of 1/2 lemon
1 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp fish sauce
1/2 cup whole cilantro leaves
1 loaf of crusty french bread, cut into thick slice
Olive oil to drizzle
Pinch of salt and pepper
Heat the oil in a large pot with lid until hot. Cook the shallot, lemon grass, pepper, and garlic over medium heat until soft, be sure to add garlic last to avoid burning. Add coconut milk and mussels. Cover with lid and cook until mussels open, 5-7 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the mussels to a large bowl, leaving the liquid in the pot. Stir in lemon zest, juice, fish sauce, and cilantro. Remove from heat and pour over mussels.
While mussels are cooking, turn the oven to broil. Place bread slices on baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Broil until just golden.
Serve in a large communal bowl or in individual bowls. Dig in and don't forget to have a piece of bread handy to soak up the sauce! Pairs well with a crisp white wine or cold glass of Belgian-style beer.