Scrub the mussels and knock off any barnacles. Rinse thoroughly in a colander held under running water to get rid of any grit and sand, and discard any mussels that remain open when tapped. Put the mussels in a large saucepan, cover with a tight-fitting lid or foil, and set the pan over a high heat for 3–4 minutes, during which time the mussels will cook in their own steam and open. Remove from the heat and, to stop the mussels at the bottom from cooking in the residual heat, carefully tip the mussels into the colander set over a bowl to catch the juices. Discard any which have failed to open. When they are cool enough to handle, shell the mussels, and put them into a large bowl. Mix in the olive oil, then add the onion, tomatoes and parsley. Season with lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste.
© 1995 Frances Bissell. All rights reserved.