Jan Bilton: Shellfish for compliments
Hundreds of oyster buffs at the recent Coromandel Oyster Festival enjoyed warm and rain-free weather between days of showers and gales. Held at The Mussel Kitchen just south of Coromandel township, organiser Anne Louden said it was a great example of how smaller communities support each other.
Sliders were my favourite of the day. Oysters were dipped in a tempura-like batter, deep-fried then skewered between split slider buns containing tangy slaw. Raw oysters were plentiful and served with tempting dipping sauces and lemon wedges. Fritters were also a popular choice with our group.
The batter should be of a pouring consistency. Get the recipe
The farming of oysters — in particular Pacific oysters — started in the 1970s and the industry now produces over three million dozen a year. Farmers have developed a safe, sustainable and environmentally-friendly industry.
Oysters are high in protein and an excellent source of copper, iodine, magnesium, selenium and vitamin C as well as tasting yum.
Green-lipped mussels are also grown in Coromandel waters and farmed mussels are New Zealand’s major aquaculture industry. Most mussel spat is collected from Northland’s Ninety Mile Beach and transferred to mussel farms where they grow on ropes. Mussels are also high in protein and low in fat and contain many other nutritional benefits including Omega 3. But best of all they are relatively inexpensive and extremely versatile.
Simple and quick to prepare. Get the recipe
A favourite starter. Get the recipe
Creamy saffron mussels
Serve with crusty bread to mop up the sauce.
1 pinch saffron threads
1 cup dry white wine
1 each: diced shallot, diced garlic clove
1 Tbsp each: butter, flour
½ tsp each: mild curry powder, ground turmeric
½ cup milk
500g frozen mussel meat, slightly thawed
½ cup cream
1 egg yolk
- Infuse the saffron in the wine for 5 minutes in a large pan — off the element. Add the shallot and garlic then simmer for 3 minutes. Strain.
- Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Stir in the flour, curry powder and turmeric. Stir in the strained wine mixture and milk together with the mussels. Cook over low heat for 2-3 minutes.
- Whisk the cream and egg yolk together and stir into the sauce. Heat but do not boil. Serves 4