Grilled Mussels with Lime and Pepper Sauce

Tuk Meric
Recipe Source: 
Sweet, Savory, Spicy by Sarah Tiong ($25.00, Page Street Publishing Co, 2020) Photo credit: Ben Cole

Ingredients

  • 4 tbsp (36 g) black peppercorns, toasted and finely ground
  • 2 tsp (10 g) salt
  • 2 tsp (6 g) brown sugar
  • 12 cup (120 ml) fresh lime juice
  • 2 lbs (900 g) fresh mussels in the shells, cleaned (see Tips)
  • 1 to 2 tbsp (15 to 30 ml) rice bran, canola or grapeseed oil
  • Thinly sliced fresh cilantro leaves, as needed

Directions

  1. Preheat the grill to high heat (450 to 475°F).
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together the peppercorns, salt, brown sugar and lime juice. Stir thoroughly until the salt and sugar are dissolved. Set the sauce aside.
  3. Place the mussels on the grill and close the grill’s lid, or place a large metal bowl over the top of the mussels to trap the steam and smoke. Cook the mussels for 2 to 3 minutes. Check to see if all the mussels have opened. If not, cook them for another 1 to 2 minutes.
  4. Remove the mussels from the heat as quickly as you can and transfer them to a large bowl. Discard any mussels that have not opened.
  5. While the mussels are still hot, dress them with the sauce and oil. Sprinkle the cilantro over the mussels and serve immediately.

Notes

  • Always ensure your mussels are fresh before cooking by asking your fishmonger, and making sure there are no offensive smells or broken shells.
  • The mussels can be replaced with clams or other shellfish. The sauce works beautifully with most seafood!

I will never forget the first experience of the overwhelmingly fruity and spicy kick of Cambodia’s Kampot black pepper. Mostly because it was delicious, but also because I was in the remote province of Preah Vihear (near the border of Thailand and Laos) and didn’t realize I was eating pepper-coated frog legs!

Pepper offers such an exciting depth of flavor and texture. We often add only a sprinkle or a shake to dishes, so when I discovered pepper being used abundantly as the main flavoring for many dishes and sauces in Cambodia, I was completely taken by surprise.

This dish is one of my absolute favorites on the barbecue and a tribute to the magical pairing of Cambodian pepper and seafood. There is nothing better than plump, juicy shellfish paired with this tangy, fragrant and peppery Cambodian sauce called tuk meric.

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Contributor

About Sarah Tiong

Since about the age of 15, Sarah Tiong has had an undeniable and unstoppable passion for food. Food encompasses everything she treasures about her family.

On a whim, she applied to MasterChef Australia, finishing in the Top 6. This adventure changed her forever: she realized that it was possible to share her love, passion and excitement for food with the world.

Enjoy the beautiful flavors of Southeast Asia street food at home with her amazing recipes!