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Coconutty Mussels with Ginger, Lemongrass, Chili, and Cilantro on Rice Noodles
serves 2

Coconutty Mussels with Ginger, Lemongrass, Chili, and Cilantro on Rice NoodlesINGREDIENTS

  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 inch of fresh ginger, peeled
  • 1 6-inch stalk of fresh lemongrass
  • A small bunch of fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 lime
  • 1 jalapeno or Fresno chili, thinly sliced
  • 2 pounds of mussels (buy them de-bearded and scrubbed: usually that’s how they come)
  • Sea salt
  • 1 10-ounce package of precooked rice noodles

PROCEDURE

Pour the coconut milk and water into a large stockpot over low heat.  Slice the ginger into rounds.  Halve the lemongrass, and beat it with the dull side of the knife to release its flavor.  Tear the leaves from the cilantro stalks.  Peel three strips of zest from the lime with a vegetable peeler.

Add the ginger, lemongrass, cilantro stalks (reserve the leaves for later), and lime zest to the coconut milk.  Raise the heat to high, bring the coconut milk mixture to a boil, then lower the heat all the way down to the lowest setting.  Cover the pot and steep the broth for 25 minutes.

Raise the heat to high and add the chilies and mussels and season with salt.  Cover, and steam the mussels open for 4 to 5 minutes.  Add in the roughly chopped cilantro leaves.

To serve, cut the half a lime from which you stripped the zest in half.  In two large bowls, place large handfuls of the rice noodles.  Divide the mussels and broth over the noodles.  Serve with 1 lime wedge in each bowl.

A NOTE ABOUT MUSSELS

Cooking mussels couldn’t be easier.  When you bring the mussels home from the store, throw out any that are open.  Then, steam them open with a little bit of liquid (coconut milk, in this case) in a large pot with a lid over a high flame.  In about 5 minutes, they will all have opened.  That means they are perfectly cooked.  If there are any mussels that this point did not open, discard them.  That’s it.

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