Seafood soups often don't have enough in them to make a satisfying meal, but that's not the case here. Two pounds of mussels and more than a pound of large shrimp, plus vegetables, coconut milk and vegetable broth, go into the pot.
Of course, you could increase the bulk further by adding cooked soba noodles or rice-stick noodles.
Serve with a vinaigrette-dressed salad of Boston lettuce, peanuts, water chestnuts, cilantro and mandarin oranges, as suggested in the cookbook this recipe comes from.
Servings: 4 - 6
- 5 medium cloves garlic
- 2-inch piece ginger root
- 1 or 2 serrano chili peppers
- 2 medium red or orange bell peppers
- 1 medium red onion
- 1 stalk lemon grass, tough outer leaves discarded
- 2 pounds mussels
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin coconut oil (optional; may substitute extra-virgin olive oil)
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Fine sea salt
- 20 large raw shrimp (about 1 1/4 pounds)
- 2 medium limes
- 1 medium orange
- 3 scallions
- 14 ounces coconut milk (may use low-fat)
- 3 cups organic vegetable broth
- Leaves from 8 sprigs cilantro
- Sweet chili sauce or toasted sesame oil, for serving (optional)
Peel the garlic, then cut it into very thin slices. Peel the ginger, then it into very thin slices. Stem and seed the serrano peppers, then mince. Cut away the flesh from the bell peppers and cut it into small dice. Cut the onion into small dice. Cut the lemon grass into 2 equal pieces, then use the wide blade of a chef's knife to smash each piece.
Rinse and drain the mussels; discard any whose shells are broken or damaged.
Combine the coconut oil, if using, and the olive oil in a medium soup pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, ginger, chili pepper to taste, bell peppers and onion, stirring to coat evenly. Reduce the heat to medium (the sizzle should quiet down) and cook for about 6 minutes, until the onion and bell peppers just start to soften. Season lightly with salt.
While the vegetables are cooking, peel and devein the shrimp. Juice the limes (to yield 1/4 to 1/3 cup). Use a vegetable peeler to remove the zest (in large strips; no white pith) from the orange. Cut the white and light-green parts of the scallions crosswise into 1/4-inch pieces.
Add the coconut milk, vegetable broth, lime juice, strips of orange peel and smashed lemon grass to the pot. Increase the heat to medium-high; stir to mix well. Once the mixture comes to a boil, add the mussels and scallions. Cover and cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until the mussels have opened.
While the mussels are cooking, coarsely chop the cilantro leaves (if desired, or leave whole).
Add the shrimp to the pot, making sure they are completely submerged in the liquid. Cover and cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until they become opaque. Uncover and remove from the heat. Discard any mussels that have not opened. If desired, discard the strips of orange peel and the lemon grass.
To serve, ladle equal portions of the soup among wide, shallow individual bowls, dividing the mussels and shrimp among the portions. Sprinkle cilantro on top; if desired, lightly drizzle with sweet chili sauce or toasted sesame oil. Serve hot.
Adapted from "Whole Foods Diet Cookbook," by Ivy Larson and Andrew Larson (Gibbs Smith, 2009).
Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.
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