Spring Vegetable and Mussel Salad

imageHere’s a refreshing salad to welcome the season of spring: mussel and vegetable salad.  Appropriately enough, this recipe uses sprouts — bean sprouts — combined with the coolness of cucumber and the springy colors of green cilantro and red bell peppers. Served warm or chilled, this salad will surely tease your palate with complementing sweet, sour and spicy tastes which you can adjust to your particular liking.

INGREDIENTS

2 lbs mussels, well scrubbed
¼ cup coconut milk
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
2 to 3 tablespoons fish sauce
1 to 2 fresh Thai chilies, minced
1 cup bean sprouts
1 /2 cup cucumber, diced
½ cup red bell pepper, diced
½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped

DIRECTIONS

Put mussels in a large pot with a lid. Pour water to cover all the shells.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to maintain a steady bubble. Cook until all the shels have opened.  Remove from heat and let cool.  when mussels are cool enough to handle, remove from shells and set aside.
Meanwhile, combine coconut milk, lime juice, fish sauce and chilies in a large bowl. Add bean sprouts, cucumber and red pepper.
Add mussels to bowl with vegetables and dressing. Add cilantro and as much of the reserved cooking liquid as you need to make mixture saucy. Toss well to combine, adjust seasonings and serve, or refrigerate for up to a few hours.

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