Yield: 2 servings
2 tablespoons neutral oil, such as grapeseed oil
1 large shallot, peeled and diced small
12 (2-inch) pieces lemongrass, bruised with the back of a knife
3 (3-inch) pieces of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
10 medium garlic cloves, peeled and minced
¼ red pepper (chili) flakes
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 large makrut (Thai) lime leaves, each leaf torn into quarters
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup water
½ pint (5 ounces) grape or cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 (13.5-ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk (not lite, no guar gum)
1 small bunch cilantro, stems finely chopped, leaves reserved/set aside
2 pounds mussels, scrubbed and de-bearded
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
Sourdough bread, sliced and toasted
In a 5.5 quart dutch oven add the oil and set over medium heat. Heat until oil is shimmering, approximately 3 to 5 minutes. Add the shallot, lemongrass, ginger, garlic, chili flakes, black pepper and lime leaves. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the shallot is translucent, approximately 5 minutes.
Add the chicken stock, water and cherry tomatoes. Stir, scraping the bottom of the pan to pull up any brown bits aka deglaze.
Add the coconut milk and bring mixture to a simmer. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is slightly thickened and reduced by half, approximately 20 minutes.
Add the cilantro stems (do not add the leaves) and stir.
Stir in the mussels. Cover and let cook for 4 minutes, shaking the pan every minute for even cooking, until the mussels are cooked through and have opened.
Turn off heat. Transfer mussels, with a slotted spoon, to a large bowl.
Add the lime juice to the coconut milk broth and stir. Taste and season with additional lime juice and/or salt and pepper as needed.
To serve, distribute the mussels among large shallow bowls. Spoon over broth and a sprinkle of the cilantro leaves. Serve with copious amounts of toasted sourdough bread to sop up the liquid gold coconut lemongrass broth.
Note: this makes a nice appetizer or light lunch, but if serving for dinner, you may want to add a serving of rice and double up on the recipe!