We cook mussels a few times a year, which is definitively not enough (they are so good!)... Most of the time, I cook them in a butter-white-wine-mirepoix sauce and we eat them with French fries. The best mussels I ever ate were in Guelph, ON (Canada) at the restaurant of the hotel we were staying. The menu listed Mussels in a Curry sauce and that was really appealing to me that evening. Boy, they were good! So good, I could have had another serving. So good, I almost made us an extra night so that I could eat them again! C'est pour dire!
The other day, as I wanted to make mussels again, I decided to try to reproduce the recipe. I knew I was not going to be able to replicate the mussels I had back in Canada perfectly. I was prepared for the slight change in taste (ie, I was managing my own culinary expectations)... Truth be told, I was more worried about my children not eating the mussels (and only eating the French fries) than about the difference in taste because I knew that, while different, the end-result would be quite delicious quand même.
We sat at the table and I served bowls with a few mussels for my children and a lot for my husband and I. Then we started showing our children how to make a claw with an empty mussel shell to pick another mussel. All of a sudden, eating mussels was not only good, it was also amusant. And to my biggest surprise, they kept asking for more. C'est bon maman", "elles sont bonnes tes moules!". They loved them! I loved them too despite the fact that yes, they did not compare with what I had in Canada.
The morale de l'histoire: don't be shy about making new things; if you are a little bit apprehensive, try to find a fun way to present or serve the food to your children. You would be surprised by their ability to embrace new things. It's who they are!
- 2 pounds of mussels
- 2 bottles of clam juice
- 1 stick of lemongrass
- 1 can of whole Coconut Milk
- 1 Tb fish sauce
- Thai Curry paste
My Personal Comments:
- Wash the mussels THOROUGHLY. I generally start washing them about 2-3 hours before cooking them. I brush them, discard all the "hair-like" and let them soak in cold water so that whatever tiny little bit of sand gets out. I change the water at least 3 times. That's the only labor-intensive part of the recipe.
- Grate the end of the lemongrass with a micro-grater. Cut the remaining part of the lemongrass stalk into 2-inch pieces.
- In a large saucepan/Dutch oven/Cocotte minute, over high heat, fry the lemongrass (grated) with currypaste for 30 seconds.
- Lower the temperature, add fish sauce, clam juice, lemon grass sticks and coconut milk. Stir and taste the broth. Let is simmer for 2-3 minutes. If you are going to cook the mussels immediately, proceed with recipe. If you are not ready, lower the temperature to keep the broth warm.
- When you are ready to cook the mussels, turn up the temperature to simmer the broth again. Dump the mussels and cook with a lid for 4 minutes. After 4 minutes, uncover, stir the mussels and finish cooking for another minute or two.
- Serve immediately.
- You can find Clam juice next to the canned seafood (sardines, tuna, etc.) in supermarket. Alternatively, Asian supermarkets carry it.
- What really gives any lemongrass-based dish its full flavor is when you grate the bottom part of the stalks.
- If I have leftover mussels and broth, I take them out of their shell and serve them over rice. It's a great way to eat them the next day. Not as fun for the children, though!