Easy to prepare, elegant, and worth the savor, mussels remain one of my favorite seafood gems.
Recipe courtesy of the New York Times
3 1/2 pounds black mussels
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 to 4 garlic cloves (to taste), minced
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 pound roma tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 cup minced flat-leaf parsley
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Clean the mussels. Inspect each one carefully and discard any that have opened (if some are partly open, tap them with your finger, and if they close back up they are O.K.) or have cracked shells. Place in a large bowl, fill the bowl with cold water and rinse several times, swishing the mussels around in the water, pouring out the water and refilling. Clean the shells, if necessary, with a brush or the end of one of the mussels, and pull out the beards – the hairy attachments emerging from the shells. Do not do this until just before cooking, or the mussels will die and spoil.
Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl and toss with the mussels. Refrigerate for 10 minutes.
Arrange the mussels, pointed ends up, in a single layer in a cast iron skillet and/or a heavy baking dish. Spoon the marinade left in the bowl over the mussels and place in the preheated oven. Bake for about 10-15 minutes, until most of the mussels have opened. Remove from the heat and discard any mussels that have not opened. Serve and enjoy!