Mussels are my favorite food, or one of them at least. Here is an easy and flavor-friendly recipe that my pal Don Pintabona used to serve at the Tribeca Grill. I spent a weekend on the beach a few years ago with Don and his family, and he made a huge a bowl of this stuff, perfect for a weekday dinner with a salad and a crusty loaf of bread.
Spicy Mussels with Baby Bok Choy
4 heads baby bok choy
2 T. olive oil
one 2-inch piece of fresh ginger, minced
4 minced garlic cloves
3 shallots, peeled and minced
2 Kaffir lime leaves (available at Asian markets) or 1 t. lime zest
2 stalks fresh lemongrass, trimmed and finely chopped
2 T. Thai red curry paste (available at Asian markets and most supermarkets, try Thai Kitchens brand)
4 c. clam juice
2 c. unsweetened coconut milk
3 lbs. scrubbed and cleaned fresh mussels
1 c. white wine
1 medium diced red pepper
1 medium diced yellow pepper
1/4 c. chopped scallions
1/4 c. chopped basil leaves
mint leaves for garnish
salt and pepper to taste
Quarter, blanch, and set aside the bok choy, divided into your serving bowls. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add ginger, garlic, shallots, lime leaves, lemongrass, and curry paste. Cook, stirring for 3 minutes to raise heat, and add clam juice. Bring to a boil and lower heat, simmering for 10 minutes to reduce by half. Add coconut milk. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes to thicken the mixture. Set aside and keep warm.
Bring mussels and wine to a boil in a large pan over high heat. Cover and cook for 3 minutes until all mussels are open. Add coconut sauce and peppers, scallions, and basil. Season and divide into bowls, on top of the bok choy, garnishing with the mint. Serves 2 – 4.