Mia Messier's Thai Curry  Mussels. Kurt Winner Photo

Mia Messier’s Thai Curry Mussels. Kurt Winner Photo

This recipe for Thai Curry Mussels is a colorful favorite of the Cirque Du Soliel artists and staff of the current traveling company of TOTEM. Kitchen Manager Mia Messier serves 200 to 250 meals a day each week to the traveling show’s 120 artists, staff and  families of artists. Her repertoire includes cuisine and favorite dishes from the many cultures  that make up the show.  The day we visited, she served several entrees for lunch, one of which was a  delicious fresh mussel dish, Thai Curry Mussels. Serve by itself or with  rice or over pasta.

Thai Curry Mussels

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons  peanut oil

1 stalk lemongrass, crushed

3 tablespoons Thai red curry paste

1 tablespoon chicken base

1 can unsweetened coconut milk-do not shake the can

2 tablespoons fish sauce (Squid brand is best)

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

2 1/2 pounds mussels, de-bearded and scrubbed

1 tablespoon palm sugar or brown sugar in a pinch

4-8 tablespoons very thinly sliced Thai basil, to your taste

Method:

In a large heavy bottomed pot, heat the peanut oil on medium high heat and add the curry paste and coconut (cream part only, reserving the milk).

Heat until the oil separates and the curry starts to become aromatic, you are releasing the essential oils to improve the taste.

Next add the reserved coconut milk, sugar, fish sauce, lime juice, lemongrass and chicken base.

Mix to incorporate all the ingredients. Turn the heat to low and add the mussels and cover the pot with a heavy lid. Check the mussels after four minutes or so. When they have opened they are ready to be served.

Please note if none have opened continue to cook, if only a few have not opened they may be bad and should be discarded.

Discard the lemon grass stalk and serve over rice or Chinese style noodles in ramekins garnished with the Thai basil. If Thai basil is not available, either mint or Italian basil will work as a substitute.