I haven't always been the biggest fan of shellfish. I had a traumatizing experience as child involving a poorly cleaned clam that left me with a mouthful of gritty specked clam flesh. I was a kid at the time and temperamental so I refused to give it another try until several years down the road when that memory had somewhat faded. Gritty shellfish still remains one of my pet peeves (for lack of a better word I can think of at the moment) which is why I say a little prayer when I do eat out that it has been cleaned and soaked properly.
EK and I are however now big shellfish lovers. It's so quick, simple and fuss free to prepare. A short trip to your local fish shop for what's in is always a nice departure from the gargantuan impersonal supermarkets. Since I live up in Carmel Valley area(by the 5 and 56), the closest shop to me would be The Fish Market by the Del Mar Fairgrounds/Racetrack. I really like the quality, variety and service here. I talked to the fish monger about what my plans for the shellfish were so he recommended manila clams and green mussels. I usually order about 2 x's more clams than mussels since they are more heavier and I also tend to like to eat them more.
EK complains that I can be a little methodical and stringently follow a recipe sometimes, not allowing myself to be more free and creative. HAH! I had all of the below ingredients leftover from cooking this past week so I decided to throw them together and ta-dah! We steamed some jasmine rice to accompany the shellfish and soak up the yummy shellfish flavored, coconut-y curry. The rice did turn out to be what we felt was a necessary side. The curry mixed with the rice was just plain delicious and I felt content eating it even after all the shellfish was gone.
- 2 lbs of shellfish
- 1- 1 1/2 cups of dry white wine
- 2 tbs. of your favorite curry powder/ paste
- 2 stalks of lemongrass chopped finely
- 4 stalks of scallions chopped finely
- 1 cup of coconut cream
- bunch of cilantro chopped
- 1 red chili sliced
- ground black pepper
- Clean and soak shellfish thoroughly to make sure all the grit is gone.
- Place wine, curry powder/paste, lemongrass and scallions in pan. Heat and stir to desolve the curry. Heat medium-medium/high till alcohol is gone.
- Place heavier shellfish into pan first as this will take longer to cook. Cover and shake pan from time to time. Place lighter shellfish 2 to 3 minutes in as these should take a shorter time to cook. Take out shellfish as they open so they don't overcook. Complete cooking time should take 4-6 minutes at medium/high.
- Arrange shellfish on serving plate with some depth or a lip to hold the liquids in the end.
- Pour liquids from the pan through a strainer into a bowl. Discard lemongrass and scallions.
- Mix liquid with coconut cream, chopped cilantro and slice red chili. Add ground black pepper to taste. Pour over shellfish and you are ready to dig in!