I have made a female friend here in Binalong Bay who loves to fish, every day if possible and I am now joining her regularly. Today she told other fisher-people that I will eat anything, well not quite I ventured to add.
Many shells in the sea contain edible inhabitants but I decided after taking this one home and subjecting it to closer inspection that I would decline to eat it. The eyes extend and its open large mouth was quite off-putting. You see the cooked version here and it still looks alive! I had boiled the shell in water then when it cooled, coaxed it out. The greyish oval shape in the bowl is the protective flat shell that shelters its head.
I did eat periwinkles I picked up off the beach, they are not so visually menacing. I soaked them in fresh water for a few hours then boiled them in a little salted water for a few minutes. After removing the protective shell on top, sliced and fried the meat in a little garlic, lemongrass and butter – utterly delicious. The official name of the Blue Periwinkle is Nodilittorina Unifasciata, how wonderfully Italian that sounds to me.
My other experiment has been with Gummy Shark but it cannot be too experimental as according to one of my informers, the local restaurant Angasi has had it on the menu. It is sitting in the freezer as was advised by ‘veterans’ to keep it frozen for a week or so before using. I will give you an update when I cook it.
Abalone eating is not so experimental, Haliotis Rubra is Blacklip Abalone, once again a member of the sea-snail family, a gastropod mollusk. It is abundant around these parts but not being a diver I had to wait until a friendly and generous diver gave me some.
I removed them from the shell with a knife, next gave it a bash to tenderise the meat, some people have a cricket bat handy for the purpose, I only had a wooden rolling-pin. I washed the surface and used a brush to scrub the lips (edges) to remove the black that gives it its common name.
The cooking part – I sliced it thinly and exposed it to the hot frying pan for only seconds. I chose to use simple asian style flavourings – see my mise en place ready so there is no delay when cooking the abalone as quickly as possible.
I invested in a three tiered steamer and also have a new wok with its own steam tray so steaming has become very popular in my kitchen lately as it locks in all the flavours and not a bit of the fish is ever wasted. I am loving my new life fishing and cooking the results of my catch and our good friends generous donations to the cooking pot. Roz