Spicy Mussels in a Tomato Broth


Sweet-briny mussels are steamed in a light tomato broth in this deeply satisfying dish. Infused with bright Thai flavours—lemongrass, ginger, garlic and Serrano peppers—this dish comes together easily.  Be sure to have plenty of bread on hand for sopping up the juices.

In the summer, I make this dish with fresh ripe tomatoes, but tinned tomatoes work well, too.

Spicy Mussels in a Tomato Broth

Serves 4


■ 5 lbs mussels, cleaned and tough stringy “beards” removed just before cooking
■ 1/2 cup unsalted butter
■ 5 shallots, minced
■ kosher salt
■ 6 garlic cloves, minced
■ 5 thumb-sized chunks freshly peeled ginger
■ 3 stalks lemongrass, bottom third only, cut in 2” chunks and bruised with the back of a knife or a kitchen mallet
■ 3 Serrano peppers, finely minced
■ 1/4 tsp turmeric
■ 6 medium-sized very ripe tomatoes, diced
■ 3 cups dry white wine
■ 1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped just before using

Cooking Instructions

In a saucepan large enough to fit the mussels, melt 1/4 cup butter over medium heat. Add the shal-lots and a pinch of salt and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, lemongrass, peppers and turmeric, stirring constantly for about a minute, being mindful not to burn the garlic. Add the chopped tomatoes a pinch of salt and cook for about 3 minutes until the toma-toes have released their liquid and the mixture has reduced. Add the white wine and bring to a boil.

Add the cleaned mussels, cover and steam until all the mussels open, about five minutes.

Use a slotted spoon to transfer the opened mussels to a large bowl, discarding any that have not opened. Cover the mussels with foil to keep warm.

Remove the ginger and lemongrass from the broth. Add any accumulated juices from the bowl of steamed mussels. Taste the broth and season with salt if necessary (the mussel broth may be salty enough).

Cut the balance of butter into small cubes and whisk them into the broth, one piece at a time.

Divide the mussels into bowls and ladle the sauce over the mussels.  Garnish with fresh cilantro. Serve immediately.

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