Monday, February 6, 2012

Been a while!!!! Thai Green Curry Wild Mussels

One of my New Year resolutions for 2012, along with giving up the ciggies and getting to the gym, was to start back at my blog again. Well one out of three is a start right!!!

So I have decided to add a simple but tasty recipe. I love all fish and shellfish and working on the west coast makes me feel lucky. The amount of fresh seafood and shellfish available in these areas really are second to none. I have some great local suppliers that I use at work and this makes my life sooo much easier. I was always told never to use shellfish in a month that doesn't have an 'R' in it, so we are still ok. Although with the amount of farmed mussels around now this rule doesn't really apply but I like to use wild so that rule still applies.

When cooking with mussels remember there is one major golden rule. If they are open before you cook them, tap them on the work top, if they close they are fine, if not then throw them away. Once cooked if they remain closed then do not force them open, throw them out. The last thing you want to do is to make yourself very ill form doing that.

Rinse the mussels under the tap for about an hour before you start to cook them. Wild Mussels will have large beards and lots of barnacles attached to them. Remove the beards with one sharp pull towards the smaller end of the mussel. Remove the barnacles with a household knife by tapping them with the back of the knife. Scrape any particles that remain on them. Don't scrub the mussels as this will give them a horibble grey colour when they are cooked. In a container place your mussels under the cold tap and cover with water. Throw in a handful of salt. This can help the mussels spit out any grit. Do this about half an hour before you cook them.

This dish will make a great appetiser for a dinner party or even a great snack for a group having a 'Desperate Housewife's night in :-)

Hope you enjoy it and look forward to keeping up the blog more often!

Thai Green Curry Mussels

Serves 4

For the curry paste:· 3cm/1in lemongrass stalk, finely chopped
· 1 1/2  kaffir lime leaves, finely chopped
· 1 lime, juice only for cooking, zest for garnish
· 1 red chilli, seeds removed and finely chopped
· 1 medium shallot, finely chopped
· 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
· 15g/.75 oz fresh coriander, leaves and stalks, finely chopped
For the mussels:
· 1.6kg/3lb 8oz mussels
· 100ml/4fl oz dry white wine
· 1 tbsp unsalted butter
· 1 medium onion, very finely chopped
· 100ml/4fl oz coconut milk
· 25g/1.5 oz fresh picked coriander, chop 1/2 the leaves
· Bean sprouts, lime zest and shaved dried coconuts to garnish

Preparation method
1. For the curry paste, grind all the ingredients except the coriander in a pestle and mortar.

2. Add the coriander stalks and leaves and continue grinding until you have a smooth paste. Store in the fridge covered with cling film or in an airtight jar if you are not going to use the paste immediately.

3. Wash the mussels under cold running water in a sink, removing any beards and barnacles. Discard any mussels that float or remain open when tapped, drain the remaining mussels and set them aside.

4. Place a large, lidded saucepan on a high heat and add the butter, onion, curry paste and wine. Stir and cook with the lid on for one minute to soften the onion.

5. Add the mussels, replace the lid and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the mussels open.

6. Add the coconut milk and chopped coriander and stir. You will not need any seasoning as the mussels will release a little salt water when they open, which is just enough to season the dish perfectly.

7. Serve the mussels in a large warmed dish or four soup plates, or simply put the pot in the middle of the table for everybody to help themselves. Garnish with the beansprouts, picked coriander, lime zest and shaved dried coconut. Give your guests finger bowls and lots of good bread to mop up the wonderful juices. There might be a little grit remaining in the bottom of the sauce pan so when serving never scrape the bottom!