I always forget how ridiculously easy mussels are to make and they cook in hardly any time at all. They’re also great in pastas, sans-shell in soups and even chilled with some seafood sauce. But best of all — they’re cheap!

The vodka tomato sauce would also be pretty stellar on some spaghetti with some homemade meatballs. But if you’re not a booze-hound like me, feel free to leave the vodka out. It just adds a nice little kick to the sauce.

Mussels-with-Spicy-Vodka-Tomato-Sauce

Ingredients:
1 Tbsp butter
2 cloves garlic
1 yellow onion (finely chopped)
1 12.5 0z canned tomatoes
2 Tbsp vodka
1 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp cane sugar
1 12.5 oz can artichoke hearts (drained, quartered)
1 Meyer lemon (zest and juice)
1 lb fresh mussels
1 Tbsp fresh parsley for garnish (optional)
Salt and pepper (to taste)
Warm bread (for soaking up the sauce; optional)

Directions:
1. Start by melting the butter in a large pan. Add in the garlic and chopped onion and cook on medium-high heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Next, pour in the canned tomatoes, vodka, cayenne, paprika and sugar. Bring to a simmer, reduce to medium heat and let cook,uncovered, for 20 minutes.
2. After simmering, add the chopped artichoke hearts, lemon zest and juice to the sauce and continue to cook for 5 more minutes. After 5 minutes, season to taste with salt and pepper.
3. Finally, turn to medium-high heat, toss in the mussels, cover and cook until the shellfish pop open, about 3-4 minutes. Pour the piping hot mussels and sauce into a large serving platter and devour with friends.

Dan-Clapson-Avatar Dan Clapson is a food writer and culinary instructor based out of Calgary. He is constantly creating new recipes and striving to expand his culinary horizons. He thinks yam fries are overrated.