Mom's big mussels
Okay, call me obsessed, but I was back at Costco again today, for the second time in less than a week. And no, I’m sure I wasn’t paying any less than I would have been paying in our Strip District for similar products, and yes, I made some impulse buys, like a pair of Gloria Vanderbilt black jeans that fortunately are returnable. (Why does Gloria Vanderbilt make jeans, anyway, and who is she fitting them for?)
They had a gal giving out samples of some of the cheeses I was rhapsodizing about last week, although I do think when folks hand out samples they should know a little something about the products. The answer she gave to any of my questions was, “These cheeses are French!” and she personally hadn’t tasted any of them. The three she was distributing were all semi-soft, with edible rinds, like Brie or goat cheese, but all made of cow’s milk. I bought the one that has a green leaf embossed on the top and tastes a bit like Limburger ; my parents are visiting soon and my father likes strong cheeses.
I felt sorry for the fellow manning the seafood station because he was being completely ignored so I bought a 5-pound bag of mussels for our supper, at $1.99/pound. This may be hard to believe, but except for when I worked in catering, I have never cooked mussels and have never bought them for myself. I don’t even know if this is a good price.
I found a recipe in my big yellow Gourmet cookbook, that also happens to be on the Epicurious website for Spicy Thai Steamed Mussels. Although I know one wouldn’t normally serve bread with Thai food, one simply must have something to sop up the delicious juices in the bottom of the bowl so we had a baguette, too. I guess I can pretend I cooked one of those French/Vietnamese/Thai fusion meals, since we also had a spinach salad with vinaigrette dressing.
Spicy Thai Steamed Mussels
Serves 6 as a first course, 4 as a main course
- 5 pounds mussels (preferably cultivated)
- 1/3 cup lime juice
- 1 (14-ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk
- 1/3 cup dry white wine
- 1 1/2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste, or more, depending on spiciness of brand and personal taste
- 1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon Asian fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 cups fresh cilantro sprigs – see note
Accompaniment: lime wedges
Scrub mussels well and remove beards. In an 8-quart wide pot combine lime juice, coconut milk, wine, curry paste, garlic, fish sauce, and sugar over high heat, stirring, 2 minutes. Add mussels, tossing to combine. Cook mussels, covered, stirring occasionally, until opened, about 5 to 8 minutes. (Discard any unopened mussels.) Chop cilantro and toss with mussels.
Serve mussels with lime wedges.
Note – Maybe everyone already knows this but I didn’t until I read it on the Dirty Sugar Cookies website; the stems of fresh cilantro are just as flavorful as the leaves so don’t discard them. All this time I had been picking the leaves off and throwing the stems away, like I do with fresh basil and parsley, but now I chop them up along with the leaves and use it all.