Steamed Mussels
with Leeks and Coconut Milk

Yield: 4-6 Servings

Steamed mussels, once a dish that only Italian and Portuguese communities would touch, now appear on menus all across the country. While you used to have to really clean them to remove the grit, today mussels often come pre-scrubbed in two-pound mesh bags. All you have to do is give the shells a good rinsing with cold water and pull off the beard along the side. The beauty of this steamed mussel dish is that you can sauté the leeks and prepare the mussels ahead of time. Then just put everything together in a pan with a cover and steam the mussels when you are ready to eat.

2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
2 leeks (about 1 pound), cleaned and diced,
           half the green and all the white parts
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeño pepper, minced (optional)
2 tablespoons fresh Thai or regular basil
1 cup coconut milk
4 pounds cleaned mussels
Freshly ground pepper to taste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1. Heat the butter or olive oil in a heavy pan with a cover large enough to hold the mussels. Add the leeks, garlic, jalapeño pepper if using, and 1 tablespoon of the basil. Sauté for about 10 minutes or until the leeks are limp.

2. Pour in the coconut milk, add the mussels, and bring the coconut milk to a boil. When the milk is boiling, lower the heat and simmer very slowly for about 6 to 8 minutes or until the shells open. Discard any mussels that will not open.

3. Transfer the mussels and the sautéed leeks to a deep bowl, coating the mussels with the leeks and the juice. Sprinkle with the remaining basil, black pepper, and parsley and serve in soup bowls with crusty bread.

Buy the Book  

The New American Cooking
by Joan Nathan
Hardcover; 464 pages; $35.00
ISBN: 1-4000-4034-5
Recipe reprinted by permission.


The New American Cooking


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