Leftover Mussels

Mussels for lunch today.

Saute chopped shallot and garlic in oil, butter or duck fat. Add mussels. Add a glass of wine and some chopped parsley and lemon rind. Add a handful of spinach and season with salt and pepper. Cover and simmer for a couple of minutes.

Add a couple of tablespoons of butter to the sauce and swirl to melt.

Serve with buttered toast or baguette to soak up the juice.

Sea bass with green curry and mussels

We had the good fortune of hosting our friends Kitty and John (with little Fiona in tow) and Kyle and Daniel last night for dinner. A funnier foursome I can't imagine. Kitty and John have hosted us for many splendid dinners- they're both inventive cooks who make delicious meals. Kyle and Daniel hosted us and Susan's mom for a ridiculously good Thanksgiving meal, punctuated at times by their parrot's loud screeches. They also have two dogs and two rats. Kyle is an elephant handler at the zoo and his love of animals is legendary.

I first thought of doing a seafood mixed grill, but backed off as it seemed fussy and would keep me prepping most of the day.

After I suggested fish with curry sauce, Susan suggested I do goi an for a first course, substituting duck confit (which I'd made a day earlier) for the chicken. Presto: a southeast Asian themed meal.

Sea Bass with Green Curry and Mussels

In a wok, saute some chopped carrots for a minute; add some sauteed chopped shallots for another minute; finally add some grated, shredded or chopped ginger and finely chopped garlic.

Add to this a spice mix of cumin, smoked paprika, turmeric, and cardamom powder (I buy the seeds-- not the pods-- and crush a dozen or so with a mortar and pestle). Add a teaspoon of green curry paste (or substitute red, which is much milder) and sautee an additional 30 seconds.

Add to this a pint of fish stock (or veg, or chicken) and cook down for a few minutes over high heat. Season with salt and pepper.

Add scrubbed mussels to pot and allow them to cook for a few minutes.

Add half a can of coconut milk (the creamy bit from the top), and, just prior to serving, a couple of tablespoons of some chopped cilantro and thai basil, maybe a bit of mint if it's on hand.

For the fish, heat a pan and oil liberally and add a hunk of butter and melt til it foams. Add seasons fish steaks: any firm white fish would work well. Sear well for 2-5 minutes on one side (depending on thickness of fish), then turn the fish and place the pan in a hot oven for 5-10 minutes, until just cooked through.

Mound some jasmine rice on a plate, placing fish on top. Place 3 mussels around each piece of fish, then drizzle curry sauce around.

Top fish with a "salad" of chopped herbs (I used parsley, cilantro, thai basil, mint, green onion) you've tossed with grated lemon and lime rind, a little lemon and lime juice, olive oil and sesame oil.


I bought my fish at Pittsburgh Fish Market in the Strip District. They were filleting a large striped bass and gave me not just the carcass but the roe as well.

I made stock from the carcass that produced enough for the evening's meal with leftovers for soup. After it cooled, I also picked 6 oz. of meat from the carcass.

I froze the roe. Chef Derek of Eleven suggests treating it like Shad roe: poach gently, dry, then saute, spreading the cooked roe on toast with lemon.