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Mussel Soup with Curry
Zuppa di cozze al curry
2 ½ (two and one half) lbs. fresh mussels
4 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup finely chopped onion
4 cloves garlic, thickly sliced
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 tablespoon finely chopped lemon zest (zest from 1 large lemon)
1 cup sparkling white wine
3 cups clam juice
1 cup cream
2 cups peeled, diced white potato (1 lb.)
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil
Yield: 6 generous portions
Pull the mossy "beard" from each mussel and scrub the shell well. Discard any mussels that do not close tightly when tapped. Keep mussels chilled until ready to use.
Heat the olive oil in a soup pot or kettle over medium-low heat. Sauté the onion and garlic over medium heat, slowly, until the onions are golden and soft, about 8-10 minutes. Stir in the curry powder and lemon zest and cook 1 minute more.
Add the mussels to the pot and increase the heat to high. Toss well to incorporate all of the flavors. Pour on the wine and simmer, covered, for 3-4 minutes. Take off the cover and remove the mussels from the pot into a large bowl as they open. Discard any mussels that have not opened after 6-7 minutes. Once all of the mussels are out of the pot add the clam juice, cream, diced potato, salt and pepper. Cover and simmer the soup for 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.
While the soup is cooking remove the mussels from their shell. Pour whatever liquid might have accumulated in the mussel bowl back into the cooking soup.
When the soup has finished cooking, puree it to a smooth cream in a food processor or blender. Gently re-heat the soup. Stir in the mussels and the basil. Serve immediately.
I would suggest to use a medium-hot Curry mix to maintain a nice spicy balance to this dish. For those of you that do like Curry use turmeric instead to maintain the typical yellowish color and add ¼ teaspoon of red pepper flakes to cooking the vegetables to make it spicier.
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