Mussels in a Yellow Tomato Lemongrass Broth

September 17, 2012
1 Rating
Photo by James Ransom
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

  • Serves 4 as an appetizer
  • 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
In This Recipe
  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.
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