1 stalk lemongrass, cut into 3-in. pieces and crushed with a mallet or hammer
1 can (about 14 oz.) coconut milk
2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste*
2 tablespoons Thai or Vietnamese fish sauce
1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar
3 pounds mussels, scrubbed and beards* pulled off
1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh basil leaves, plus slivered leaves
2 limes, cut into wedges
How to Make It
Sauté shallot and garlic in oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat until very fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add lemongrass and cook 1 to 2 more minutes. Pour in coconut milk, then stir in curry paste, fish sauce, and sugar. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil.
Add mussels, stir until well coated, and cover. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mussels open, 5 minutes. Stir in chopped basil and spoon into wide, shallow bowls, discarding any unopened mussels. Garnish with slivered basil and serve with lime.
*Find curry paste in your market's Asian-foods aisle. A mussel's "beard" is the clump of filaments it uses to attach itself to rocks.