Jim Cowie recipe: Mussels steamed with lemongrass

If you’re a landlubber looking for the freshest – and most sustainable – seafood the ocean has to offer, set your bearing north to Scrabster, suggests Jim Cowie

20-25 minutes
Published: July 25, 2015

The Captain’s Galley, located in Scrabster, is the most northerly seafood restaurant in mainland Scotland. My wife Mary and I had the passion, dream and vision to renovate an old Scrabster salmon bothy and ice-house into what we like to think is one of the world’s best seafood restaurants and definitively the most sustainable in the UK, having been named Sustainable Restaurant of the Year 2015 by The Sustainable Restaurant Association earlier this year. Our philosophy is clear: simplicity, integrity, seasonality and sustainability. It’s our way of life and we endeavour to express it with love, in all of our dishes.

The ocean on our doorstep is an incredible larder, but we choose to select from it carefully. That way, our customers will enjoy the very finest the sea has to offer and we know that generations to come will continue to enjoy its rich harvest. These three dishes are all favourites with our customers and two feature sustainable seafood.
For The Sustainable Restaurant Association, see www.thesra.org. Twitter: @galleycaptains

Mussels steamed with lemongrass, basil, chilli and coconut juice (Asian moules)

Rope-grown mussels are one of Scotland’s biggest success stories, none more so than blue-shell mussels from Shetland. Loving them myself, I was determined I wouldn’t include them on my menu until I had the perfect dish. This recipe with its subtle Asian flavours is pretty much as close as it gets.


1 Put the coconut milk, galangal, lemongrass and green chilli in a saucepan and bring to the boil over a high heat.

2 Add the lemon zest. Lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

3 Remove from the heat and strain, pressing down on the mixture. Cool to room temperature, uncover, then add the lemon juice and salt. Stir to combine and set aside.

4 Put the oil in a saucepan. Add the garlic and shallots and cook until lightly browned. Stir in the chillies, then the mussels and the lemongrass infusion. Shake the pan vigorously, then add the basil and season to taste. Cover and cook until the mussels open, roughly three minutes.

5 Transfer the mussels to a serving bowl, with the cooking liquid. Garnish with the micro coriander leaves and serve immediately.

Classic gin cocktail recipe: Gibson


  • 500g mussels (bearded)
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp galangal
  • 2 stalks of lemongrass
  • 1 fresh green chilli
  • 1/2 tbsp finely grated fresh lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup and 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp salt and more to taste
  • 1 tbsp groundnut oil
  • 1 tbsp sliced garlic
  • 3 tbsp sliced shallots
  • 3 tbsp sliced fresh red Thai chillies
  • 1/2 cup loose packed Thai basil leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup micro coriander leaves
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