Mussels are loaded with good nutrition for very few calories. They are usually restaurant food, which is a shame, not just because they are inexpensive and very easy to cook, but because they are... also rich in minerals such as selenium, potassium and iron, and in B vitamins, especially B12. These are all things the human body need to stay healthy, but that are hard to get in quantity from plant sources. Ounce for ounce, mussels have more of these nutrients than steak! Super fast and super delicious, Moules Marinière is a very French, very traditional way to cook mussels. It is an easy recipe to start a great relationship with these mollusks. The tomato is a good addition in the summertime, but this dish is better than good with or without them. With some crisp fresh bread to soak up the juices (or some oven fries), and a crunchy green salad tossed with our Mustard Vinaigrette, it’s all set.
In a large pot with a tight fitting lid, heat the olive oil over a medium-high flame. 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 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 the chopped parsley. Close the lid and cook them over a high heat, shaking the pan until all the mussels are open, and they have given up their liquor, about 3 minutes.
Serve immediately in large bowls with their liquor poured over them, and an empty bowl for the shells. Discard any that remain tightly closed. Eat with crispy fresh bread and a simple green salad.
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.