This tropical twist on the French classic moules marinieres serves up briny mussels in a tangy coconut broth enhanced by ginger and lemongrass. You'll find the pretty green stalks of fresh lemongrass in the produce section of many fine supermarkets and specialty-food shops, alongside the brown knobby fresh ginger rhizomes, or roots. Both aromatics need to be peeled before using, and both have dense, stringy flesh that can be difficult to mince. Grating is a good solution for ginger; include the juices that are extruded when you scrape. For lemongrass, peel and use only the tender midsection of the slender, bulblike stalk. Smash it with the flat side of a chef's knife to make mincing easier. Increase your dining pleasure by sipping, as an accompaniment, any bright, fresh white wine that offers good acidity. Think sparkling wine, unoaked Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, or Sauvignon Blanc.
- 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 shallots, minced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tsp peeled and grated fresh ginger
- 2 tsp minced lemongrass
- 3 tbsp fresh lime juice
- 2 cups dry white wine
- 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
- 2 to 2 1/2 lb mussels, scrubbed and debearded
- 2 tbsp minced fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley or scallions
In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and saute until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, and lemongrass and stir to mix well. Simmer until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the lime juice. Add the wine and stir, using a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits that have stuck to the bottom of the pot.
Bring the wine mixture to a boil and cook for about 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and stir in the coconut milk. Add the mussels to the pot, discarding any that do not close to the touch, and stir gently to coat them with the liquid. Cover and cook until all the shells have opened, about 5 minutes. Discard any mussels that remain closed.
Divide the mussels among warmed bowls and ladle in the hot broth. Garnish with the parsley or scallions and serve at once.
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