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Mussels with Lemon Grass & Spicy Coconut Milk

As a follow up to my blog post on what seafood is beneficial to eat, I have a recipe here for mussels. Mussels are another great sustainable seafood recommended as a best choice by the Montery Bay Seafood Watch Guide.  I only eat seafood that is good for me and good for the environment. Choosing the right fish is so important for our planet and our body.  Enjoy this great recipe for mussels.

Mussels have high levels of iron and zinc and are low in calories so they are being called the next delicious wonder food.  When it comes to seafood mussels are a “super green” food that offers tremendous health benefits.  Mussels in fact contain higher levels of Omega-3 fatty acids than any other shellfish. Mussels in the way they are farmed represent one of the healthiest of foods grown in the most sustainable way: mussels are a natural sustainable crop, they don’t deplete resources in the environment, but instead consume plankton, contributing positively towards the food chain. Consumers can feel good about choosing farmed, rope-cultured blue mussels because they’re choosing a food that is fresh, healthy and grows in abundance,”. says Linda Duncan, executive director of the Mussel Industry Council of North America “… mussels are grown and harvested in an extremely sustainable manner.”

When buying mussels pick ones that are tightly closed, they should smell like the sea, not fishy but fresh.

Mussels with Lemon Grass & Spicy Coconut Sauce

2 servings


2 lb fresh mussels
½ cup white flour (don’t worry we are not eating this)

2 Tb coconut oil
2 shallots minced
3 cloves garlic minced
2 stalks lemon grass trimmed outer layer removed, white part minced  (this will be about the bottom third)
2 small Thai chili or Serrano chili seeded and finely chopped  (leave in  seeds if you like more heat)
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
2 tsp lemon juice
Zest of ½ lemon (organic is best here)
1 tsp Asian fish sauce
½ cup cilantro chopped

Prepare the Mussels

To get started you want to remove any mussels that might not be alive. If the shells are closed tightly, you know they are alive. If the shell is open, quickly press it together, it will spring open some then a live mussel will close on its own (sometime it takes a few seconds).  I check each mussel and put any open ones to the side.  I then recheck the ones that were open and see if they closed.  I throw out any that are still open.

Some mussels have sand in them. It is so unpleasant to bite into a mussel and have sand in your mouth.  So here is how you remove that sand: Fill a large bowl with cold water to completely submerge your mussels with a couple of inches on top. Sprinkle 1/2 cup flour into the water and mix. Then add the mussels. Leave them in the water (some will float) for 1/2 hour. Drain and rinse.  You will see the sand they spit out at the bottom of the bowl as you pour off the water.  Pull off any beards and scrub off any dirt.  Usually they come in already cleaned and debearded so you won’t have to do this step, but definitely soak them in the flour water.  You are now ready to cook the mussels

Cook the Mussels

  • Heat oil in a large pot
  • Add shallots, garlic, lemon grass and chile.
  • Cook over medium heat until soft about 3 minutes
  • Add coconut milk and mussels.  Cover with a tight fitting lid and cook until the mussels have opened 5-7 minutes. Discard any mussels that remain closed.
  • Remove from heat, us a slotted spoon to transfer the mussels to a large bowl leaving the liquid in the pot
  • Stir the lemon zest and juice, fish sauce and cilantro.
  • Taste adjust if necessary.  The salt comes from the fish sauce if you need more salt.



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