Starters

November 22, 2021

Lemongrass Coconut Mussels

Lemongrass Coconut Mussels

Mussels make for a great appetizer, best served family style, or even make for a great main dish! When making and eating mussels we use P.E.I Mussels. P.E.I referring to Prince Edward Island which is an island off the coast of Canada’s Nova Scotia province. The reason why these mussels are so good and have become so well known is because of the perfect conditions that are present in this area for culturing mussels.

Our favorite mussels to eat are those that use Thai inspired flavors. In this case, in the form of coconut milk, lemongrass, ginger, lime, and mint. This dish yields a broth that is subtle, yet complex in flavor.

Tips on purchasing mussels

When buying mussels, there are a few things you want to look for in order to ensure they are as fresh as possible.

  1. The first thing you want to locate is their tag. Shellfish harvesters are required to attach a tag with certain information that pertains to their harvest location and date. This tag will ensure that they are from a certified harvester and that they were harvested at a recent time.
  2. The second thing to look for is how the mussels are sold. Mussels should either be sold in a mesh bag or directly on ice.
  3. Next, you want to examine the shells and the scent. The shells should be intact without any holes or damages and the mussels should smell like the ocean, fresh and clean. If the mussels in question check all of these boxes then you can typically buy with confidence.

Ingredients for Lemongrass Coconut Mussels

The ingredients work so well together in this dish! You will pick up on sweetness from the coconut milk, acidity from the lime, floral notes from the lemongrass, lime zest and honey, heat from the garlic, ginger and chili flakes, and freshness from the mussels and mint.

The dish truly is packed with flavor and is an amazing one to try if you are unfamiliar with cooking with these ingredients and are looking to branch out with your mussel cookery. Here's your grocery list:

  • Coconut milk
  • Shallots
  • Garlic
  • Lime
  • Ginger
  • Honey
  • Sugar
  • Chili flakes
  • Mint
  • Salt

Tips on cleaning the mussels

While there are many mussels that you will buy that are precleaned, that's not always be the case. In our experience, the best way to clean mussels is to put them in a large sink, sprinkle salt on the shells (about 1 cup of salt to 2 pounds of mussels) and vigorously rub them together for about 2 minutes. The combination of friction and salt causes all the excess barnacles and grime on the outsides of the shells to rub off.

  • Rinse heavily: You want to heavily rinse all the shells with water to ensure all the salt is removed.
  • Damaged mussels: If you come across any mussels that have damaged or broken shells, you should discard them.
  • Open mussels: If there is a mussel that is open, give it a subtle tap. If the mussel does not close within a few seconds, discard it as well.
  • Removing the mussel beard: Right before cooking, remove what is called the mussel “beard.” The beard, which looks like a small glob of hair located on the side of the shell, is used by the mussel to hold onto solid surfaces in the ocean in order to keep in place. Once you remove the beard, using your fingers, a paring knife, or tweezers, the mussels are ready to cook.

Mussels can be cooked in a plethora of ways and are utilized in many different cuisines around the world. Chances are, yourself or your family has a recipe for cooking or eating them that you grew up with. That’s one of the great things about mussels, they are so diverse.

We recommend you serve these with a good portion of the broth in a bowl and white bread.

Cheers and eat well!

Lemongrass Coconut Mussels

Prince Edward Island mussels cooked in a delicately balanced coconut milk broth with Thai-inspired flavors.

Author:

Alejandra Diaz del Valle

Prep:

30

min

cook:

20

min

total:

50

min

serves:

3

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds mussels
  • 5 ounces coconut milk
  • 2 medium shallots (peeled & finely sliced)
  • 3 cloves garlic (peeled & finely sliced)
  • The zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 1 stalk lemongrass (chopped)
  • 1 large knob ginger (peeled & chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 dash chili flakes
  • 6 stalks of mint
  • Salt as desired (about 1 teaspoon for flavor + 1 cup for cleaning mussels)

Instructions

  1. Before you cook the mussels, put them into your sink and sprinkle salt over the shells to coat them and then using your hands, roughly rub the shells against each other to remove some of the grit and grime on the outside of the shells. Quickly rinse off the salt with cool water.
  2. Next, using your fingers, a paring knife or pliers, pull the brown, hairlike clump on the side of the shell, sprouting out of the inside of the shell, off of each mussel. Discard any mussels with broken shells or those that refuse to close after 10-15 seconds of being touched. Set the clean mussels aside.
  3. After cleaning the mussels, prepare the shallots, garlic, lemongrass and ginger by peeling and finely slicing them. Keep each ingredient separate.
  4. Put a pot on the stove that can hold the mussels and has room for the addition of liquid. Turn the heat on high and add about 1 teaspoon of your preferred oil to cook with.
  5. When the oil is hot, add the shallots and turn the heat to low. Add a pinch of salt and move the shallots around to sweat. Cook for about 2-3 minutes, until the shallots start to become translucent.
  6. Add the ginger, lemongrass, and garlic, along with another pinch of salt, and continue to cook on low, stirring occasionally, until you start to smell the additional ingredients and they too, start to become translucent. Around 2-3 minutes.
  7. Turn the heat to medium-high and add the chili flakes and the mussels. Stir everything to evenly distribute, add another couple pinches of salt and continue cooking for about 2 minutes.
  8. Add the coconut milk, along with the honey, sugar, and zest and juice of the lime. Stir and continue to cook on medium-high, bringing the liquid to a simmer. Once simmering, turn the mussels down to a slow simmer and continue to cook for about 5-8 minutes or until all the mussels open completely.
  9. When all the mussels have opened, continue to cook for 1 additional minute on low heat and add the mint. Taste the broth and season accordingly.
  10. To serve, spoon the mussels into a bowl and serve with a good portion of the broth in the bowl. Use the shell as a spoon to scoop the broth so that each mussel has some broth and the mussel meat in the shell when you eat it. Serve with white bread or rice to enjoy the remaining broth.

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