Like clams, mussels are best cooked quickly. They turn rubbery and dry if left too long in the pot. The trick is to add them to a small amount of rapidly boiling liquid in the bottom of a pot and cover immediately. Whatever you do, get hungry bodies to the table before you start cooking, because steamed mussels are best eaten freshly cooked and very hot. Good bread for sopping up the delicious spicy broth is essential. Grill bruschetta with a brush of oil and a rub of garlic to accompany the dish if you are feeling ambitious.
Yield: Serves 2 as an entree, or 3 to 4 as a starter
- 2 pounds fresh Blue Mussels, scrubbed and de-bearded. [Note: Hog Island Oyster Farm in Tomales is a great source of sustainably farmed mussels in our area. For a list of where they can be purchased visit hogislandoysters.com.]
- 2 tablespoons quality olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, cracked with the heel of your hand
- 2 cups roughly chopped ripe tomato (substitute canned diced tomatoes when tomatoes are out of season in your area)
- 1½ tablespoons brined capers, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup green Cerignola or other mild, fleshy olives, pitted