Mussels in a Yellow Tomato Lemongrass Broth

September 17, 2012
1 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 4 as an appetizer
Author Notes

In this recipe, the mussels are bathed in a broth of yellow-orange tomatoes, and a stock infused with fresh lemongrass and ginger that I picked up at my local farmers' market. The ginger and lemongrass lend a subtle presence to the dish -- just enough so you know it's there, but not overpowering. I sauteed the onion, garlic, and ginger in extra-virgin coconut oil, so that you get hints of coconut without it being overwhelming or rich. Here, all the ingredients are harmoniously integrated. —wildgreens

Test Kitchen Notes

Aside from the appealing flavor combination, this recipe is completely accessible. The most time-consuming step is making the stock, which takes five minutes to throw together and forty to simmer. It’s perfect for one of those late afternoons when you want to get dinner started, but still have more Food52 browsing to do! The seasoning is flexible, so adjust it to your taste. (I doubled the ginger and was liberal with the salt.) The scallion garnish is an important flavor booster, so don't skimp. After a few bites (slurps?), my husband and I decided the broth could use the kick of cilantro so we added a generous pinch -- yum! When I make this again, I’ll halve the amount of broth, as the recipe yielded a lot for 2 pounds of mussels, even with a baguette of bread and enthusiastic appetites! —Rhonda35

What You'll Need
  • Yellow Tomato Lemongrass Mussel Soup
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 3 pounds yellow-orange tomatoes, cored and quartered
  • 1 quart lemongrass stock (recipe below)
  • 12 Thai basil leaves (or 6-8 Italian basil leaves)
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 2 pounds mussels
  • Thinly sliced scallion sliced on a bias, for garnish
  • Lemongrass Stock
  • 4 stalks lemongrass, dry outer leaves removed
  • 1 yellow onion or leek, sliced
  • 8 thin slices ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 6 cups cold water
  1. Yellow Tomato Lemongrass Mussel Soup
  2. In a large soup pot, heat 2 tablespoons coconut oil and 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and ginger, and cook until the onion is translucent. Stir in the tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes. Pour in the lemongrass stock and add the Thai basil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Puree in a blender, adding the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil until the broth is smooth. Taste and add more salt if needed.
  4. Return the soup to the pot. Bring to a simmer, add the mussels, and cover. Cook until the mussels open. (Discard any mussels that do not open.) Ladle into individual bowls, top with sliced scallions, and serve with some grilled or toasted bread. (Rub with garlic, drizzle with peppery olive oil, and a sprinkle with coarse sea salt if you like). This is bound to make you smile. Enjoy.
  1. Lemongrass Stock
  2. Place the lemongrass on a hard wooden surface and pound gently (with the bottom of a sauce pot or rolling pin) to help release its oils. In a stockpot, combine all the ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook uncovered for about 40 minutes. Pour the stock through a strainer, pressing as much liquid as possible from the vegetables before discarding them.
Contest Entries

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • MaureenOnTheCape
  • Rhonda35
  • savorthis
  • Taylorjean07

7 Reviews

Taylorjean07 August 4, 2018
I have a packet of dried/ ground lemongrass. How much should i use?
Gisela M. May 8, 2014
loock great, One of my top-rated quick and easy recipes with Mussels "Citrus steamed Mediterranean Mussels"

No special ingredients, no reduction or beurre blanc sauce.
1 1/2 cups white wine
1/2 chopped sweet onion
2 shallots, chopped
2 bay leaves
3 pounds mussels in
shell, debearded and scrubbed
3 tbsp orange juice
2 tbsp butter
Orange zest
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup parsley, chopped

to cook :

Add white wine, shallots, onion, and bay leaves to large stockpot. Then cover and simmer about 4-5 minutes. Add mussels and stir. Cover pot and steam 4 to 6 minutes or until shells just open. Drain liquid from stockpot into small saucepan. Add butter, orange juice, salt, and orange zest. Boil about 3 minutes until sauce is thick and foamy; remove bay leaves. Transfer mussels to serving platter and pour sauce over. Sprinkle with fresh parsley and serve. source:
fhp October 13, 2012
Made this today and it was so much better than the one I ordered at the trendy Lazy Ox Canteen last night. Theirs had some white wine in the broth and the whole thing was too acidic. This was smoother. In lieu of the black pepper I made this with some ridiculous little chile peppers growing out back in the garden. Wowie Zowie! but Yummmmmm.
MaureenOnTheCape October 13, 2012
I'm always looking for new ways to enjoy mussels, the most economical seafood to buy on Cape Cod. This is a winner. I agree with @rhonda35. Any fresh tomato will do and it still comes out golden in color, due to the liquid extracted from the mussels themselves.
It's a nice break from the standard white wine preparation.
A note for your shopping list: Even at the Cape where seafood walks itself to the fish market, lots of mussels do not open in the cooking process, so purchase extra to account for the stubborn ones which will have to be thrown away.
Rhonda35 October 11, 2012
When I tested this recipe, I didn't use a regular blender to puree the broth. Instead, I used a hand blender right in the pan. It worked great!
Also, just as a note, I think you could use any kind of ripe tomato; you are not confined to yellow tomatoes only.
Pamela's K. September 23, 2012
This sounds amazing!
savorthis September 18, 2012
This looks wonderful. Great end of summer bowl of love!