Now, I trust you kept hold of that mussel broth, like I asked you to in the last entry. This is one of those fridge-emptier recipes, one of those “Oh, damn it, what am I going to do with all this ingredient x” standbys.
Often, after having confronted a tasty bowl of mussels in a restaurant, one is left with a delicious pool of broth that one is powerless to address. Sure, the waitstaff has brought out bread for the mussels, but it is never enough for one, is it? One cannot request more bread, as one would feel like a glutton, especially if the mussels in question are intended to be the prelude to the evening’s entrée. One is therefore resigned to bidding the delicious mussel broth a tearful goodbye.
No more, I say! I’m not about to go out and say that you request to have the mussel broth boxed up and taken home with you, although that isn’t, strictly speaking, a bad idea. But when you make mussels, reserve that broth! Hold it tight to your breast, because that’s half the work of another meal right there. There’s no reason that the work of one meal can’t be the work of two or three. In fact, let’s codify that as a Recession Tip:
David’s Tips for Living Well in A Recession
Tip #4: The effort it takes to generate one meal can be redirected into easily making others.
I suppose I’d sort of forgotten about those. I should point out that making your own coconut milk fits neatly into Tip 3#: process it yourself.
Anyway, let’s say you’ve just made either the Thai Mussels or the Garam Mussela, and you’ve got, oh, a cup and a half of broth left over or so – this is a coconut-mussel stock, with either wine or tomato providing the rest of the liquid. This is the time when those little freezer packs of tilapia come in immensely handy, though this would, obviously, work with fresh fish of any sort.
Morning-After Fish-and-Mussel Soup, à la Thaïlandais
Serves two, or one for breakfast and then lunch
You will need:
- a little oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- a piece of ginger the size of your distal thumb joint (the part with the thumbnail on it), minced
- 4 ounces of mushrooms – about eight, sliced
- 1½ to 2 cups leftover mussel broth, with the mussels removed and set aside
- 1 tilapia filet, maybe 4 to 5 oz, frozen (or not. Also, any other firm, white-fleshed fish in similar quantity)
- a touch of fish sauce
- the juice of half a lime
- (optional) a splash of cream
- Hot steamed rice, to serve with
- Execute your mise-en-place: mince the garlic and the ginger, put in a tiny bowl. Slice the mushrooms and set aside.
- Cut the fish into 1-inch chunks, and set aside while you heat a small saucepan with a little bit of oil.
- Saute the garlic and the ginger until they’re aromatic and soft.
- Then add the mushrooms, stirring occasionally; cook till somewhat brown.
- Add in the mussel stock (reserving the mussels themselves – you’re going to add them in just before serving, because you just want them to warm through, and bring to a bare simmer. Squirt in the lime juice, the fish sauce, and the optional splash of cream. You are also free to add more stock, more water, or whatever you wish, if you feel that you lack enough liquid in the pan.
- Tip in the chunks of tilapia and cook over medium heat until the fish is firm to the touch or tooth, about five to seven minutes.
It should look somewhat like this:
- Stir in the mussels, and heat through, about a minute or two.
- Serve over hot white rice, sprinkle with chopped cilantro, and eat with iced tea. Enjoy your day.