I used to think of mussels as the poor man's clams, but my thinking has changed over the years and I now prefer mussels to clams. They are cheaper, sweeter, and take on the taste of the broth much better than clams. I also find that they are as easy to cook as clams and here is a simple recipe.
Take two pounds of mussels (I use farm raised from Prince Edward Island as the wild ones are too sandy) and wash them well in cold water, making sure to remove any beards on the muscles by either pulling them off or cutting them off with a knife. Put the mussels in a pot with ice cold water for about twenty minutes to allow them to breath and expel any sand and other stuff. Dump the water and put fresh water on them and let them sit for another ten minutes. Rinse again before cooking.
While the muscles are taking their next to last swim chop up four garlic cloves and two medium shallots. Take a third of a stick of butter and put it in a pot at medium heat. When the butter is melted add the garlic and shallots and get them just slightly browned. Add six ounces of beer (I use a wheat beer like Goose Island 312 or Hocus Pocus from Magic Hat) and a dash of salt, pepper and cayenne. Bring to a low boil and add the mussels for their final swim and some chopped fresh parsley, then cover. In five to seven minutes the mussels should be open and ready to eat. Discard any mussels that didn't open.
Spoon the mussels in a bowl and pour the broth over them. They are best eaten with the same beer you used to cook them with. The broth is real good on pasta too.