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Verses from my Kitchen: Mussels with Coconut Curry Lime Sauce and Cilantro

June 3, 2011

Mussels with Coconut Curry Lime Sauce and Cilantro

Yesterday was the first day of spring. Not according to the calender though, that day came weeks ago. In a country where people jokingly refer to our seasons as winter and summer, it was beginning to feel that way. I, for one, need the different seasons to feel balanced and, in a way, reborn. So yesterday was a welcome arrival.

Winter was long and steady and, at times, forceful. It carried on for months and months and then suddenly ended. It was abrupt, as if someone pulled back the curtain that ended act one. One day here the next vanished. On that first day of spring we were greeted with blistering hot temperatures and record early weather warnings. We skipped spring. Bounced right over it. Moved on like nothing even happened.

Yesterday I woke up and felt something different. Some kind of new. There wasn't an early morning chill in the air like you feel in fall and winter. There wasn't a dryness from that first crack of humidity that creeps through your windows and holds your breath down. It was a shade of perfect. It was the right balancing act of warm fresh air with a cool breeze brushing alongside it. I knew it.

It was the perfect day for a drive. It was good drive spoiled by work, but at least the windows were down and I had a great companion to drive the long country roads with. Spring. The friend I hadn't seen in the better part of the year but whenever she shows up it's as if she's been hear all along. We pick up right where we left off last time, without missing a thing. And the memories from the previous spring rush back like a wave.

It seemed to me that yesterday dragged on particularly long. One hour slid into another and with each glance at the clock it was as if someone had snuck another part of the day right by my eyes. The fact that the sun shines brighter these days and lights my part of the word well past eight thirty at night helps greatly. So when I was looking at making it home two hours later than usual it didn't seem to bother me. I had a new season to catch up with.

We had some white wine chilling at home and some curry paste from a meal a week ago. That combination must have triggered something in me because this easy and light weekday meal played itself out for me without a thought. Like a scene from a script that jumps off the page. When I get in later than usual I try to make something that works quickly so yesterday's vision was spot on.

I stopped at the market for some fresh Canadian mussels and picked up coconut milk. One of my favourite marriages of flavour is coconut and curry and I knew my wife would love it too. I grabbed a small handful of cilantro, the aroma intoxicating at first touch. A knob of ginger, hot green chili and some shallots and I was on my way.

As I stood in my kitchen over a pot full of my favourite flavours I remembered back  to how the day had started. I should have known this was going to end up like this when I caught the first glimpse of air up close to my face. It was destined to be relaxed and shared with a bowl of mussels, a glass of white wine and my favourite person sitting outside beside me as we toasted to the first day of spring.

From my kitchen to yours, happy eating!

Mussels with Coconut Curry Lime Sauce and Cilantro

The Goods:
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced finely
  • 3 tbsp. curry paste
  • 1 can (14 ounce) coconut milk
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lime juice and zest of lime
  • 1 small green chili, seeds removed and finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. ginger, grated
  • 2 pounds mussels, washed/scrubbed/debearded
  • small handful chopped cilantro
  1. Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat and add in the shallots and garlic, cook for a minute. Add in the curry paste and the thickened top half of the coconut milk and stir until really fragrant, another minute. Pour in the rest of the coconut milk along with the wine, lime juice and zest, green chili and ginger. Bring to simmer over medium-low heat for 10 minutes to let flavours infuse.
  2. Add the closed mussels and increase heat until a soft boil starts. Cover the pot and boil softly for about 8 minutes, or until all the mussels have opened up.
  3. Place mussels in the bowls and pour sauce over top. Sprinkle with fresh cilantro.
  4. Serves 4.


At June 3, 2011 at 3:12 PM , Anonymous Liren said...

I can't think of a better way to celebrate spring's arrival. In many ways, I feel as though we here in the Bay Area have been stuck in a mild winter (which is much like spring everywhere else). It's June, but it feels like February. This dish is beautiful and would be perfect on a day like today.

Have a great weekend!

At June 3, 2011 at 3:28 PM , Anonymous Carolyn said...

Wow, these are gorgeous. The flavours sound phenomenal, I don't know that I've ever had my mussels that way. We have a bit of spring weather here too, it's a nice change before it heats up for good.

At June 3, 2011 at 3:28 PM , Anonymous Paula - bell'alimento said...

I have a weakness for mussels... swoon

At June 3, 2011 at 3:48 PM , Anonymous bellini said...

Here in the west the morinings and evenings are cool so ut is hard to cteate a definitive line between seasons. All i know is that we are adding foraged fiddleheads, local asparagus to our meals and drinking wine on the patio.

At June 3, 2011 at 5:16 PM , Anonymous Winnie said...

This type of sauce is my favorite way to eat mussels, and yours look amazing! Thanks for being my 3000th follower on twitter, btw :)

At June 3, 2011 at 5:34 PM , Anonymous Kathryn said...

I honestly can't imagine anything better. I love curries, and I also adore mussels (I visited Brussels a few years ago and probably ate 10 pounds of the things while I was there!) Beautiful pictures, too!

At June 3, 2011 at 7:55 PM , Blogger Rosemary said...

Michael, love your presentation pictures...very inviting even though you would not ever see me eating mussels

At June 3, 2011 at 11:00 PM , Anonymous kankana said...

This year the weather is behaving in a very weird way... the season is playing games with us :)
This dish looks absolutely delicious with that perfect combination of coconut and curry !

At June 4, 2011 at 8:53 AM , Anonymous Veronica Gantley said...

Wow that looks amazing. I usually cook mine in wine and garlic. I will give yours a try. Thanks for the recipe.

At June 4, 2011 at 11:05 AM , Anonymous Kate@Diethood said...

Just saw this on foodgawker and, well, I couldn't stop gawking! Gorgeous dish!

At June 4, 2011 at 2:04 PM , Anonymous Medifast Coupons said...

Do you think I could use frozen mussels in your recipe. I bought on a whim and now not too sure what to do with them.

At June 5, 2011 at 7:57 PM , Blogger Pola said...

Love mussels and these look awesome! Unfortunately my BF hates them, so I almost never get to cook them!

At June 6, 2011 at 8:51 PM , Anonymous The Culinary Lens said...

I cooked some mussels yesterday but I justed went the white wine and shallot route. I can't wait to try this. I even have everything except mussels on hnd

At June 7, 2011 at 10:45 AM , Anonymous Jean (Lemons and Anchovies) said...

This dish is perfect in so many ways. When you shared your image on Twitter, I couldn't stop looking at it. All the exotic flavors heightened by the freshness of the mussels, just wow.

I wish I could say the weather has improved on us here in northern California but it hasn't. Still, nothing would stop me from enjoying a big bowl of these beautiful mussels.


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