I got my second batch of mussels from the canal yesterday, and we had them tonight with a flatbread Kevin made from our last leftover piece of pizza dough. He cooked it for just a few minutes on a pizza stone in a hot oven, brushed it with olive oil and sprinkled it with sea salt.
By popular demand (OK, it was my mother), I’m going to try to include proper recipes for things we cook that come out well. Things we cook that don’t come out well, I won’t bother.
Mussels in Coconut Milk
2 teaspoons canola (or other vegetable) oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
6-8 cloves garlic, pressed or chopped fine
1 tablespoon chipotles in adobo (solids chopped very small), or other heat source to taste
½ cup vermouth or dry white wine
1 cup stock (chicken, beef, whatever – I used a pork/chicken combo I had on hand)
1 14-ounce can light coconut milk (see NOTE, below)
1-2 tablespoons lime juice
1-2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 cup chopped herbs – any combination of cilantro, mint, and basil (I used 2/3 cilantro, 1/3 mint)
3 pounds (give or take) cleaned, de-bearded mussels
1. Heat the oil over medium-low heat in a pot large enough to hold all the ingredients. Add the chopped onions and celery and sauté, stirring occasionally, until they’re wilted and beginning to brown, about 8-10 minutes. Add the garlic and chipotles and sauté a few more minutes.
2. Add the vermouth or wine, and cook until it has almost all evaporated. Then add the stock and coconut milk and bring to a simmer.
3. Add the lime juice and brown sugar, a little at a time. Keep tasting until it seems right. The balance of this dish is a very personal thing; there is no prescription for amounts.
4. Turn the heat to high, add the herbs and the mussels, and cover the pot. When the mussels are all opened (about 5-7 minutes), it’s done. Serve with crusty bread.
NOTE: Light coconut milk is essentially watered-down regular coconut milk. I use the light kind because I find that one can of it is a reasonable serving for two people. If you’re feeding more people, or are willing to freeze leftovers, by all means use a smaller amount of regular coconut milk.