Undoubtedly, the best mussels in the world come from Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia. At the tip of the Eastern Seaboard, the ocean climate and tidal patterns are ideal for rope-cultured blue mussels that grow naturally with no feed or additives. This sustainable, suspended cultivation method earned its reputation for high quality standards based on the pride of local harvesters and processors. Proving the global popularity of P.E.I. mussels, there are approximately 130 harvesters who farm 11,000 surface acres of shallow bays and inlets of the chilly North Atlantic.
The Canadian mussel industry is highly regulated and after 18 to 24 months the bivalves reach marketable size. Though grown in the cleanest water in the world and cleaned in federally inspected processing plants, I still prefer to soak mussels in a bowl of cool water for about 20 minutes to help remove any remaining grit. Drain, rinse well and discard any shells that do not close.
- 2 pounds live mussels
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ cup yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 4 cloves fresh garlic, grated
- 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, grated
- 2 cups coconut milk
- 4 tablespoons red curry paste
- Cilantro, chopped
Heat a large pot over medium heat. It’s important to note that mussels should be steamed, not boiled, so it’s best to use a wide pot to keep the liquid shallow.
Add extra-virgin olive oil and onion. Sauté until translucent, then add ginger and garlic. Stir often, until fragrant.
After no more than a minute, add coconut milk and red curry paste. Stir and allow to mix, bringing to a gentle simmer before adding mussels. Cover and steam for 10 minutes, or until all the shells have opened.
Ladle mussels and their broth into a large bowl and garnish with chopped cilantro. Make sure to have some crusty bread to soak up the curry broth.
Whether a quick appetizer to accompany a seafood feast or easy to cook one-pot dinner, this spicy coconut curry is sure to keep you warm this winter.