The other day, I was reading an on line article from the Washington Post about their top 40 picks of DC area restaurants. One was a Belgian Bistro which offers five different types of mussels. The one that caught my eye was mussels braised in a white wine and lemon juice broth and served with slow cooked pork belly and blue cheese. Sounds pretty good to me. When I mentioned it to the other goumaniac, I got her typical “I don’t eat meat” scowl. But the conversation must have sparked a latent mussel urge somewhere, because she showed up later in the day with about three pounds of P.E.I. mussels. Seeing how I wasn’t going to get my way with pork belly that day, I made a southeast Asian green curry and coconut milk broth and added the wine steeped mussels in it. And just because it’s January, I poached a pound of salmon, cubed it, and threw it in as well. Then I served it all over some rice noodles. I just finished the leftovers for lunch, lucky me.
3 lbs mussels, cleaned and purged
1 lb salmon, skin and bones removed
2 medium size shallots diced
1 cup white wine
2 cups fish court bouillon or fish stock
juice of 1 lemon
1 10 oz can of coconut milk
4 Tbsp green curry paste (available at some supermarkets or Asian grocery shops)
1 Tbsp fish sauce (optional)
1 Tbsp Mirin (optional)
¼ cup all purpose white flour
1 bag of clear rice noodles (available at some supermarkets or in an Asian grocery shops)
¼ cup chopped cilantro
First, feed your mussels. Three hours or so before you’re ready to cook the mussels, mix the flour in a bowl with 6-8 cups of cold water and add the mussels. This will purge them, and additionally it’ll plump them up a bit.
In a saucepan, bring the court bouillon to a strong simmer and poach the salmon for about 5-7 minutes, depending on its thickness. When done, remove from heat and transfer to a bowl or plate. Reserve the court bouillon for another poaching or for a fish sauce.
Get a stockpot or marmite bubbling with salted, boiling water for the rice noodles.
In another stockpot or marmite with a lid, place the white wine, shallots and lemon juice, and bring to a boil. Rinse the mussels under cold water and dump them into the boiling wine-lemon juice and cover with the lid. Wait about three minutes and take a peek at them. They’re done when all the shells open up. Remove from the heat and drain them through a colander. Reserve the poaching liquid for the sauce.
In a 4 quart sauce pan, add the coconut milk and the green curry paste; it’ll turn a wonderful pale green color. Add the optional mirin and fish sauce. Bring to a boil and immediately reduce to a simmer. Add the reserved mussel poaching liquid and shallots. Let it chug along for about five minutes.
Meanwhile, throw the rice noodles into the salted boiling water. They cook quickly, 3-4 minutes so keep an eye on them.
Add the mussels and the chunked poached salmon into the curry coconut milk. Drain the rice noodles and plate them into large bowls, add some mussels and salmon and ladle the curry-coconut broth on top. Garnish with some chopped cilantro and serve immediately.