This is a perfect summer meal, light and enticing. Be sure to serve it with plenty of good bread and a cool, crisp white wine.
Scrub the mussels with a strong brush, remove the beards, and leave them in cold water for 10 minutes. Throw away all the mussels that are not firmly closed.
Bring the water, wine, and bay leaves to a boil in a large, heavy casserole. Add the mussels and cook, tightly covered, over high heat 4 to 6 minutes, shaking the pot two or three times so that the mussels cook evenly. When all the shells are open, remove the mussels with a slotted spoon and discard the shells. Boil the broth in the casserole to reduce it to about
Combine the oil, vinegar, onions, parsley, tarragon, capers, pepper, and salt (if mussels are excessively salty, use only a small amount), and toss with the cooled mussels. Add the mussel broth slowly and taste to check the seasoning. Toss well and chill for at least 1 hour. Check the seasoning again before serving.
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