Serious Eats: Recipes
Healthy & Delicious: Mussels in Spicy Tomato Sauce
Sustainable, dirt cheap, simple to prepare, low in fat, high in protein, and filled to the brim with vitamin B12, mussels could be the perfect seafood. Served as part of Lidia Bastianich's Mussels in Spicy Tomato Sauce, there's no doubt about it. It's the fanciest 15-minute meal you'll ever make.
I bought the mussels themselves for $2.50 per pound at the farmers' market (Union Square Greenmarket in New York City). Scrubbing and de-bearding was a tad time-consuming, but still went way faster than say, gutting a butternut squash (a.k.a. my nemesis). If you buy them pre-cleaned, they may cost a little more, but the time saved could be worth the expenditure.
Either way, it's comparatively little effort for spectacular results. The sauce is savory and garlicky and has enough kick to save it from being pedestrian. For a spicier brew, you might use ground cayenne, but I preferred the subtler red pepper flakes. Served over linguine or thin spaghetti (see here), it's homecooked gourmet suitable for Wednesday night or Christmas Day.
Bastianich, for the win.