I do a mussels with linguine dish. Buy 2 lbs. of mussels (4-6 people). Chop up 1/2 cup leeks, 1/4 cup shallots, 3-4 cloves chopped garlic, saute in 1/2 stick butter in large 12" frying pan. Add 1 28 oz. can San Marzano tomatoes with juice, cook down. Season with s&p, pinch of red pepper flakes. Wash and scrub mussels while veggies are cooking, discard any that are open. Add mussels to pan, cover with lid and steam for 10 min or so till mussels open. At same time, have pan of salted boiling water ready - add 12 oz. linguine when you add mussels, cook for 10-12 min or package directions. While linguine is draining in colander, add 1/4 cup chopped parsley to mussel mixture. Serve mussels over linguine in very large bowl with toasted garlic bread and large salad.
Mussels are great because all you really need to do is make some sort of flavourfull broth and steam them in it.
I've made them with sausage and without. I've made the white wine broth, both with and without some tomato paste for a different flavour.
I've made Cajun and a few spin offs from there.
I've had them in a vodka tomato broth too.
Get creative is the bottom line in my mind.
Come up with a few things you think would taste great, put them in the pot, steam the mussels and enjoy. The most important thing to remember is, the best part of eating mussels is sopping up the broth with crusty bread.
The best mussels I've ever had in my life (and I LOVE mussels!) are Turkish stuffed mussels (midye dolmasi) I first had in a restaurant during my first trip to Istanbul. I'm too lazy to type out my own recipe (plus it's stored in my head and I'd probably have to make some to remember it all), but here are some pretty authentic reading recipes:
For the mussels:
Turkish stuffed mussels recipe
For the stuffing:
Mine are just a tad different in that I add some tomato sauce to the water I cook them in. Just enough to impart a mild tomato undertone and tint the rice a bit. And a critical point: Use SHORT grain rice!
These are soooooooo good that even as a starter, I think 30 of them is about the right amount per person. They're fantastic. Enjoy!
Here are my tried & true mussel recipes. The first is good for a party, the second is good for myself (or maybe a small group).
First is a simple Thai mussel recipe which my fiance's family loves. It's a clear broth, not curry-based, so the flavors are quite clean. 5 lbs of mussels makes this a decent appetizer for eight.
1. Pour 5 cups of water into a large pot and turn up the heat to high
2. Toss in six kaffir lime leaves, 3 lemongrass sticks (roughly cut into 2-3 inch pieces), and the peel of one lemon
3. While waiting for the pot to boil, rinse off mussels
4. When the broth boils, put in a steamer ring in the bottom of the pot, then dump the mussels on top and cover the pot. If you don't have a steamer ring, just dump the mussels directly into the broth
5. While waiting for the mussels to cook, finely slice 3 scallions and 3 thai chili peppers, and add them to a large bowl. Add more chili peppers if you like it spicy like my family does :)
6. When the mussels are cooked through, divide them among individual serving bowls. Add about 1/2 of the hot broth to the scallions & chilies, and let them steep for a minute, then ladle the scallion/chili broth into each of the bowls (bowls should be about 1/2 way filled). If there isn't enough broth, add what's left in the pot to the serving bowls
7. Garnish each bowl with a thin slice of toasted bread and chopped cilantro, and serve.
However for something more hearty, I often make this just for myself as the main course with a pound or so of mussels:
1. Chop 1/2 onion, 1 large tomato, and 1/2 green pepper into 1/2 inch cubes. Roughly cut up about two cloves of garlic (more if you like garlic)
2. Add water to cover bottom of large pot by 1-2 inches. Add juice of 1/2 lemon, a splash or two of white wine, and assorted dried herbs to the water (I like to use fine herbs and thyme), then turn heat to high. Cover the bottom of the pot with a steamer insert
3. Wash about 1 lb of musels (since this serves one) while waiting for the water to boil
4. When steam arises, dump the mussels into the pot, then dump the onions, peppers, tomatoes, and garlic on top of the mussels. Cover the pot
5. When mussels are almost cooked, stir the onion/tomato/pepper/mussels so that they're well integrated
6. When mussels are done, dump into large bowl with veggies. Add 2 tbsp of butter (more if you like butter) and some chopped Italian parsley into the broth and stir until it melts. Ladle broth on top of mussels, sprinkle more Italian parsley on top, and serve with thin slices of toasted bread
This is how I do them.
Clean the mussels
heat a deep pan on medium heat
saute half a chopped onion for a minute, add salt, pepper, red pepper flakes
add in mussels
when most are open and its still crackling, add about 1/3-1/2 can of coconut milk
add some more red pepper flake
when the milk starts to turn red/brown its pretty much good to go, I squeeze juice from 1/2 a lime in and serve with lime wedges.
I do one with a curried carrot broth that has a bit of creme fraiche stirred in. It's modified from the Aquavit cookbook, which I don't have here, but I can post it later if you are interested in it.
I also make this spanish-style mariniere quite frequently: http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/mu...
Saute about 3 tablespoons of red curry paste, a sliced shallot and a smashed garlic clove in a pot with a little oil. Add a can of coconut milk, 3 slices of ginger, a splash of fish sauce, a sliced chili and bring just to the boil. Turn down the heat and simmer with mussels until cooked. Serve with chopped cilantro and holy basil.
I know there are Rachael Ray haters out there, but I saw an episode of hers and improvised upon this recipe. (http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recipes/recipe/0,,FOOD_9936_33154,00.html) It was great. My husband loved it, and it never fails to impress. I also like the coconut milk and red or green Thai curry combination. You can also check out Monk's menu, in Philadelphia (http://philadelphia.menupages.com/res...) for inspiration.
For Southeast Asian, this is one of my go-to's. I've been making it for years, it's easy, and always a hit at parties. I make the curry/coconut milk base the day before, and add more red curry and some Sriricha if I'm making it really spicy. I use Maesri brand Thai red curry paste.
spicy thai steamed mussels
Here's two favorites ... favoring the first one more.
Mussels Steamed with Lemongrass, Thai Basil, Dried Chile, and Coconut Juice
Recipe ---> http://www.randomhouse.com/broadway/jeangeorges/mussels.html
Mussels with Sausage, Coconut milk and Lime
Recipe ---> http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...
re: Cheese Boy
Coconut Juice is the "water" from young coconuts.
It is a.k.a. coconut *water*. Coconut *milk* is explained in Link # 2.
Link # 2: http://www.thaitable.com/Thai/Ingredi...