Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Fragrant Mussels- Inspired by Jamie O

I was gifted a copy of 'The naked chef takes off' by my dear friend Cishi on my birthday. It has gathered dust on my bookshelf for a while now. I recently felt like trying something different and so decided that I would try one never-previously-made (by me) recipe once a week and share with friends who could then give feedback if any. The above recipe sounded delicious! However, never having worked with mussels, I was a bit apprehensive. The recipe is as follows:

2kg / 4½ lb best live Mussels
olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
3 stalks of lemon grass, outer leaves removed, finely sliced
2 fresh chillies, red, green or both
3 tablespoons finely sliced ginger
2 handfuls of fresh coriander, pounded or finely chopped
1 tablespoons sesame oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
5 scallions, finely sliced
juice of 3 limes
1 14-oz can of coconut milk

Serves 4-6 people.

Place your mussels with a couple of glugs of olive oil in a large, very hot wok or pot. Shake around and add the rest of the ingredients, apart from the lime juice and coconut milk. Keep turning over until all the mussels have opened - throw away any that remain closed. Squeeze in your lime juice and add your coconut milk. Bring to the boil and serve immediately.

I bought debreaded mussels and the other ingredients, all easily procured at Whole Foods. We invited some friends as 'industry experts.' I prepped all ingredients ahead of time. Took me about half-an-hour to wash, pound, slice, squeeze, et al. I plopped the mussels into the hot oil 15 mintues before serving. They opened easily and gave off a delicious aroma as soon as the sesame seed oil hit. This process took about 4-5 minutes. Once all seemed open, I poured in the coconut milk and the lime juice. A mistake I made at this point was to bring this mixture to a boil and cook it further for another 5 minutes. The reason the recipe says to serve immediately is because coconut milk when boiled for a length of time starts to curdle and become lumpy. This doesn't affect the taste or the properties of the food. If you are concerned about the doneness of the mussels (as I was), you can toss it around another few minutes in the hot oil before adding the liquid in the last step. The result, however, was yummy! The mussels were plump and juicy and the liquid fragrant, even if a little separated. A recipe to be definitely tried again for not only the taste but the ease of prep and making!