Mussels are usually restaurant food, which is a shame because they are inexpensive, easy to cook, and rich in minerals like zinc and iron, as well as vitamin B12. Try this recipe to start... a great relationship with these mollusks. Super fast and delicious, Moules Mariniere is a traditional French way to cook mussels. Fresh tomatoes will add a pop of sweetness in the summertime, but this dish is plenty good with or without them.
In a large pot, warm the olive oil over a medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cayenne, if using, and cook until the garlic starts to color, about 1 minute. Add the lemon-water mixture and cook down until it has reduced by half. Add the chopped tomato and cook 2 minutes more.
Add a generous pinch of salt, the cleaned mussels, and parsley. Close the lid and cook them over a high heat, shaking the pan until all the mussels are open and have given up their liquid, about 3 minutes.
Serve the mussels immediately in large bowls with the liquid poured over them. Discard any mussels that remain tightly closed, and include an empty bowl for the shells. Pairs well with fresh, crispy bread and a simple green salad with Mustard Vinaigrette.
Mussels are living things and need to stay that way until they are cooked. Eating a bad one can cause great discomfort. If not used to handling them, check out our article for tips on buying and cooking mussels.