There was a time my kids wouldn’t eat anything but mac and cheese, pita pizza’s, prepared ravioli and tomato sauce…you know…kid friendly food. When they reached their 20’s, they became a lot more adventurous…more fun for their mad cooking scientist Mom to use as guinea pigs for culinary experimentation. I developed this dish for my son this evening, as we have been craving mussels. You either love them or are very afraid of them. The mussels not my kids.
Mussels are full of omega 3’s and this recipe uses low fat low sodium broth and coconut milk. So it is a good healthy choice for a light dinner or lunch.
Mussels need to be cooked the day you purchase them. Yes, fresh mussels are alive for all you doubters. So no freezing. If you have mussels left over, it is perfectly safe to either freeze them or eat them before 4 days in the fridge. When cooking mussels, you need to make sure all the sediment that they carry inside their shells is removed. No one likes slurp on sandy mollusc broth. Fill a big bowl with water. Add about 1 tablespoon of flour. The mussels may open up to chow down on the flour and release the grit into the water. Rinse the mussels clean. Throw away any broken or opened mussels (that do not close when tapped)…before cooking. And pull that beard off too. Now you are ready to cook!!
As my son really enjoys mangoes, I wanted to introduce him to the Ataulfo variety. It is sweet and has more of a creamy texture than the common mango or Indian mango. This small yellow Indonesian type, originated from a Hawaiian seedling strain, direct descendant of the Manila mango common in Veracruz State, Mexico. The fruit is a small, flat, oblong shape, 6 – 12 ounces, greenish yellow to deep golden when ripe; delicious, very sweet, rich in flavor and close to fiber free. (butter!) It’s my mango of choice.
Make sure you have your mise en place ready. Dice everything up and line it up by the stove in order of what goes into the pot next. If you follow these easy steps, dinner will be ready in less than 30 minutes. Cooking time is about 15 minutes…it’s the dicing that may take a bit more time. This is a great recipe to practice your knife skills.
Curried Mussels with Butternut Squash and Ataulfo Mango 2 servings
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 2 lbs mussels, cleaned and de-bearded 1 medium cooking onion, small dice 2 inch nub fresh ginger, minced 3 large cloves of garlic, minced 1 ½ teaspoons curry powder ½ teaspoon (or more to taste) red chili pepper, we used Aleppo pepper ½ orange bell pepper, small dice ½ cup butternut squash, small dice ½ cup Ataulfo mango, small dice 2 cups broth (chicken or vegetable work well) 1 small can light coconut milk 1 lemon, juice and zest
In a large pot, on medium, heat 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil.
Add onion and cook until just soft.
Then add the ginger, garlic, curry powder, and red chili pepper.
Add orange bell pepper and butternut squash. Cook until just soft.
Add 2 cups broth and heat through
Add the coconut milk and turn heat up to medium high.
Season with coarse kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, and adjust the other spices to your taste.
Quickly add the mussels and cover. Wait 3 to 5 minutes and check to see that all the mussels have opened. If they are all opened wide, they are ready to eat! Do not over cook, as the mussels will become rubbery.
Portion into bowls and top with lemon zest and freshly squeezed lemon juice.
Serve with fresh bread for dipping. We used an onion rye.
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