One of the things that Josh and I missed most about Kentucky when we first moved to Somerville was the accessibility to outdoor dining. Because there are so many months that you can eat outside there, most of the restaurants have patios. So one night many years ago, Josh and I went on a search for something casual that had outdoor seating. We decided to try the Cambridge Brewing Company in Kendall Square. I like the beer there but we haven’t been back in a long time as there are so many other options for great food in the Cambridge/Somerville area plus you can get the beer in other restaurants. However, there was one dish there that I regularly crave. It was a curried mussels dish. I don’t remember the description on the menu but I do remember the flavor, so a couple weeks ago I decided to take a stab at guessing what was in it and recreate it at home. It was pretty easy to do once I sat down and thought about the flavor and texture. Here’s what I came up with!
1 can coconut milk
1 cup canned pineapple, diced
Juice from the canned pineapple
1 cup tomatoes, diced
¼ onion, grated
½ cup chicken stock
1 Tbsp yellow curry powder
1 tsp red curry paste
1 tsp salt
Mix all of the ingredients above with the exception of the mussels in a dutch oven. It should be fairly thin, not like a curry sauce at an Indian or Thai restaurant. Bring it to a boil stirring constantly. Then bring the heat down to low and let the sauce simmer for approximately 20 minutes stirring occasionally. This will get the curry and pineapple well married. Separate the sauce into two dutch ovens. Then turn the heat back up on both pots, put the half the mussels in each pot, and cover with a lid. Cook for 2-3 minutes then stir them bringing the mussels on the bottom to the top and vice versa. You want to cook them only until the mussels open. Do NOT cook them any longer because they will over cook and there is nothing worse than over cooked seafood. You’ll need to keep an eye on them to make sure. If you don’t have 2 dutch ovens, you can always cook them in two batches.
I’ll give you a couple quick tips on the mussels. 1) They need to be alive when you cook them. To check this, firmly tap open mussels on the side of a bowl. If the mussel closes up, they’re fine. If they don’t, toss them. 2) I usually then give them a good rinse and remove any beards. The beards are the hairy looking part that sticks out the side. A firm pull with a back and forth motion will get that out. You do not want to eat this, so check every mussel when you rinse them.
This hit the spot exactly. It’s a little sweet and a little spicy and overall just very delicious. I like to break one of the shells in two and use one side as a kind of spoon that way I get the broth, the mussel and some of the fruit in one bite. It’s a bit messy this way, but it’s totally worth it!
I hope you enjoy this as much as I did. Seems crazy to me that it took me 6 years to try it, but I know it won’t be that long before I make it again!