Friday, November 14, 2008

Mussels in New Zealand.

This delicious green shell mussels of New Zealand grow in the pristine unpolluted cool ocean waters of idyllic fiords and coastlines.

You can eat them raw, or "cooked" in lemon juice, the way my Tongan friends serve their mussels or a quick saute, boil, fried in a batter or steamed or in New Zealand, made into fritters. I like mine sauteed in oil fried fragrant with shallots, ginger, garlic, spring onion, chilli flakes, and lemon grass if I were in Singapore. Once in the heavy pot, I cover it for a few minutes. Mussels are best eaten as soon as they are cooked.

Mussels are vibrant green and gold shell in colour. Some time you get tiny barnacles growing on them. You can easily scrap them off. Before cooking, a good clean and remove the beard.

Once the lips comer ajar, you know it is ready. If you cook them too long, the meat will toughen. The plump tender meat is creamy white when the mussel is male and apricot to orange when the mussel is female.

Mussels are relatively cheap compared to oysters and scallops. In our local supermarket Foodtown, you can sometimes get them at $1.99 per kilogram.

There is another type of mussels, the big horse lip mussels. Harvesting them in Whakatane in 1980 near my cousin Henry's place was an experience that I will never forget. This is will leave for another post.

*** These photographs were taken in 2007. During the Chinese New Year, there was this food festival where Princess Street turned Mardi gras, all sorts of ethnic food were sold. Here Maori mussel vender demonstrate their culinary skills. You can see Sam and I salivating at the yummy food.***

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