additional salt, freshly ground black pepper, and parsley for topping
bread for dipping
To begin, place mussels in 3-4 quarts of cold water with the flour. Allow to soak for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, discard their “beards” (pull off with your hands) and discard any mussels that haven’t closed up tight.
Heat the oil in a Dutch Oven or large saucepan. Cook the fennel and garlic for about five minutes, then add the tomatoes, wine, parsley, salt and lemon juice. Bring to a boil, then add the mussels to the pot and stir. Turn the heat to medium (or, a light simmer) and cover, cooking for about 10 minutes. Discard any mussels that haven’t opened back up.
Serve in bowls, making sure to get plenty of broth and veggies in each along with the mussels. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes and any additional toppings desired. Serve with a crusty loaf of bread.