(Like) Mussels by the Ocean
I discovered mussels later in life, and I don’t know what it’s about them that they have kept me a bit smitten since that first encounter. They have this majestic and intriguing mix of colors on their shells. For me there nothing more beautiful than those dark chocolate brown and coppered swirls over that shiny black-ridged case. Yet, they are humble and accessible. They are underdogs of the sea if you will!
Making dishes with mussels is one of my ways to elevate any meal. Over pasta is the obvious restaurant like dish at home. But the way we love them is steamed in a delicious sauce and eating them just with warm, crusty bread. Is fun, yet elegant. Is simple, yet fancy. We feel like having a summer afternoon picnic in front of the ocean!
Some time ago I posted this Mussels with chorizo recipe and it was delicious. This one is more summery and mellow, with the sweetness of the corn and the creaminess of the coconut milk.
I’m including this guide on how to prepare mussels, if you have never worked with them. Is super easy and straightforward. If you are using frozen they are most likely to be already prepared, so just throw them in the pan when the procedure call to do so.
How do you like this easy approach to fancy dinners? Have any of you have more ideas on how to cook mussels? Tell me about it!
1. Here’s a guide on how to prepare mussels if you are using fresh and live mussels.
2. If using frozen, just throw them in the pan when the liquids are ready.
3. The rum is completely optional, just to give the sauce a kick. You don’t have to use any if you don’t have it on hand.
4. I use recao, also know as spiny or long coriander or cilantro, which is a Caribbean herb widely used in Caribbean dishes. You may find it in specialty food shops or supermarkets with a broad international foods section. If you don’t find any you may use cilantro or just add a bit more of flat leaf parsley.
Mussels in a corn and coconut cream sauce
Total time – 30 minutes Prep time – 15 minutes
Equipment – large deep skillet, immersion or small blender or small food processor
Olive oil – 2 TBSP
Recao (spiny coriander/long coriander), finely chopped – 2 TBSP
Flat leaf parsley, finely chopped – 2 TBSP
Ground garlic – ½ Tsp
Sweet fresh corn – 1 ½ cup approximately, corn from 2 big kernels
Coconut rum (optional) – ¼ cup
Chicken stock – ¾ cup
Organic coconut milk – 1 can (13.5 oz)
Fresh live mussels, rinsed and cleaned – 1 to 2 pounds (20 to 45 pieces approximately)
In a large deep skillet with lid heat the olive oil over moderate heat. Add the recao, parsley and garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add the corn and cook for about 2 minutes more, then add the rum (if using) and cook for 1 more minute. Add the chicken stock, lower the heat and let it soft boil for 5 minutes.
Transfer to a deep bowl or measuring cup (I used a 2 cups glass measuring cup) and with an immersion blender puree everything (alternatively, you may use a small blender or food processor). Return the liquid to the skillet, then add the coconut milk and mix well. Add the mussels and cover. Steam for 5 minutes in moderate low heat. Retire from heat. Discard any mussels that are still closed. Serve with fresh parsley, crusty warm bread and a nice white wine!