My default method of cooking mussels has always been the French way–with white wine, garlic, shallots, olive oil, lemon, and parsley. Simple and delicious, this dish paired with some French bread, to sop up the flavorful liquid, and maybe a green salad makes for a tasty, satisfying meal. Of course, I’ve had mussels prepared the Asian way, as well, but I always considered them just a bit too complicated. That is, until I discovered this new recipe for Mussels with Black Bean and Coriander. Coriander, of course, is another word for cilantro, a herb that smacks of freshness and flavor. When mashed up, the black beans add a saltiness and texture to this dish that is balanced by the acidity of the lime juice and the sweetness of the sugar. Throw in some ginger and garlic for added flavor, and the cilantro leaves at the end, and you have what amounts to my new favorite way of preparing mussels.
2 lbs. mussels
1 tablespoon peanut oil
2 tablespoons canned, salted black beans, rinsed and mashed
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh ginger
2 long fresh red chilies, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro roots, finely chopped
¼ cup Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 teaspoons sugar
½ cup fresh cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
1.) Scrub the mussels with a stiff brush to remove any dirt or grit. Remove any beards. Discard any open mussels that don’t close when tapped.
2.) Heat oil in a large, deep lidded pan. Add black beans, garlic, ginger, chili, and coriander root and cook cook over low heat for 2-3 minutes, until fragrant.
3.) Add wine and increase heat to high. Add half the mussels in a single layer and cover with tight fitting lid. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until the mussels have just opened. Discard any that do not open. Remove from pan and repeat with the remaining mussels.
4.) Transfer the mussels to a serving dish leaving the cooking liquid in the pan. Add the lime juice, sugar, and coriander leaves to the pan and cook for 30 seconds. Pour the sauce over the mussels and serve immediately with rice.