Sunday, November 8, 2009

Men With Mussels, Curried Mussels That Is

There is a restaurant in Paris called Academie de la Biere, or literally translated, The Beer Academy. It sounds like the ultimate Man Cave, but it is a fun restaurant with half as many beer choices than days on the calendar! Now there's a thought! The long tables are often filled with young men as they "study" the choices at the Academie! You can click on the pic to see the many beers to choose from. I'm not a beer drinker and always look for recommendations, since some of these beers are from Belgium micro breweries. Sometimes you may even be given a sample before committing...what's not to like about that? If you can't decide, you can always default to wine. And then there are the mussels and frites...mussels meunière, mussels moutarde, curried mussels...and even m-m-m-more choices. If you are lucky you have a friend beside you who likes to share!! I always look them over, making sure to only eat the ones that open, since all it takes is one bad one to send you to a place you don't want to go to!Yesterday I went to my local fish market and bought 2 pounds of Prince Edward Island mussels. I wanted curried mussels and thought I'd add some coconut milk to give them a different punch. With Asian undertones they don't taste like their Parisian inspiration, but they are delicious alone as a starter or as I had them, with linguine.

Curried Mussels
With Coconut Milk
(I adapted this from an recipe and changed some of the ingredients for my taste.)

2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup chopped shallots
2 tablespoons Madras curry powder*
1 1/2 cups dry white wine**
1 14 ounce can unsweetened coconut milk

1 3-4 inch piece lemon grass, sliced lengthwise
2 small bay leaves
2 pounds mussels, cleaned, scrubbed and debearded

sea salt to taste
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

*The quality of the curry powder defines this this dish, so use the best you can get.
**I chose a Chardonnay for its fuller flavor that works well curry.
Melt butter in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add shallots and curry powder; stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add coconut milk, wine, lemon grass and bay leaves; simmer 10 minutes. Add mussels. Increase heat, cover and boil until mussels open, about 6 minutes. Using tongs, place mussels in 4 bowls (discard any mussels that do not open). Boil sauce until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally, about 2 minutes or more. Season with salt and pepper; discard bay leaves. Spoon sauce over mussels. Sprinkle with cilantro.

Serves 4.

Click here for tips for cleaning mussels.
Curried Mussels With Coconut Milk recipe (pdf)

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