Seafood soups often don't have enough in them to make a satisfying meal, but that's not the case here: two pounds of mussels, more than a pound of shrimp, plus vegetables, coconut milk, and vegetable broth, go into the pot.
4 to 6 servings
5 medium cloves garlic
2-inch piece ginger root
1 or 2 serrano chili peppers
2 medium red or orange bell peppers
1 medium red onion
1 stalk lemongrass, tough outer leaves discarded
2 pounds mussels
1 tablespoon extra-virgin coconut oil (may sub extra-virgin olive oil)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Fine sea salt
20 large raw shrimp
2 medium limes
1 medium orange
14 ounces coconut milk (may use low-fat)
3 cups organic vegetable broth
Leaves from 8 sprigs cilantro
Sweet chili sauce or toasted sesame oil, for serving (optional)
1. Peel the garlic and ginger, then cut into very thin slices. Stem and seed the serrano peppers, then mince. Cut the flesh from the bell peppers; dice small. Cut the onion into small dice. Cut the lemongrass into 2 equal pieces, then use the wide blade of a chef's knife to smash each piece.
2. Rinse and drain the mussels; discard any whose shells are broken or damaged.
3. Combine the coconut oil and the olive oil in a medium soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, ginger, chili pepper to taste, bell peppers and onion, stirring to coat. Reduce heat to medium and cook for about 6 minutes, until vegetables start to soften. Season lightly with salt.
4. Meanwhile, peel and devein the shrimp. Juice the limes. Use a vegetable peeler to remove the zest (in large strips; no white pith) from the orange. Cut the scallions (white and light-green) crosswise into 1/4-inch pieces.
5. Add the coconut milk, vegetable broth, lime juice, strips of orange peel, and smashed lemongrass to the pot. Turn the heat to medium-high; stir to mix well. Once the mixture boils, add the mussels and scallions. Cover and cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until the mussels open.
6. While the mussels are cooking, coarsely chop the cilantro leaves.
7. Add shrimp to the pot, making sure they are completely submerged. Cover; cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Uncover; remove from heat. Discard mussels that have not opened. Discard the orange peel and the lemongrass.
8. Ladle the soup into shallow individual bowls, dividing the mussels and shrimp among them. Sprinkle cilantro; if desired, lightly drizzle with sweet chili sauce or toasted sesame oil. Serve hot.