This was a real treat. I usually only cook mussels if I am making a cioppino or bouillabaisse but I had forgotten just how great they are on their own. I am used to having mussels cooked in wine or some other type of broth which I always enjoy but have to admit it gets a little boring. These Asian inspired mussels were a great change of pace and since we have been on a Asian kick lately they fit right in to our current eating ritual. I was in a bit of a quandary as to what to serve with the mussels. I did some online research and found suggestions of polenta, vermicelli with butter and garlic, rice and plain crusty bread. All sounded fine to me so I called several of my Asian friends and it was unanimous with them that it had to be rice. Rather ordinary I admit but it sure was great with the flavorful cooking liquid. I opted for jasmine rice since to me it isn’t quite as bland as ordinary white rice. Turned out perfect.
I got to my fish monger a bit late in the day and the place was packed. I was in there for about 45 minutes and the whole time I kept thinking to myself, this had better be worth standing in this line all this time. I didn’t need to worry, it was totally delicious. The recipe is simplicity itself. After scrubbing and debearding the mussels it is just a quick saute of garlic and ginger. Some red curry paste is stirred in and sautéed for a minute, then in goes the coconut milk, bring it to a boil and toss in the mussels. Cover and cook a few minutes till the mussels open and dinner is on the table. The cilantro and lime add just the perfect kick to top it all off. Total heaven.
I think in the future I think I would serve this as a starter. Mussels are deceptive creatures. You look into a pot filled with mussels but when you start eating there really isn’t much to them. When you buy two pounds of mussels you probably end up actually buying a pound and a half of shells and half a pound of actual meat but they are too good to quibble about that.