One of the best things about New Zealand, and something that we probably take for granted, is our free and easy access to wild game and fresh seafood. If you’re into your hunting and fishing and like to go for a dip in the ocean, or know a mate who does then here’s a classic recipe to cook at home or chuck on the flat top of the BBQ. A few years ago I was lucky enough to be doing a stint as a chef in the Queen Charlotte Sounds and have access to paua fresh as you can get. We would slice thinly and fry it quickly in butter with a squeeze of lemon and they were amazing. If you’re using great, fresh ingredients often the more simple recipes are the best.
Paua can be pretty tough and everyone has their own theory on how to tenderise them. The general rule of thumb is once they’ve been removed from the shell, gutted and the teeth removed you need to slice them thinly and fry them quick and fast, slowly braise them or mince them which is the method I am using for this recipe. These fritters are great thrown between two slices of fresh white toast bread with some aioli or you can serve them with some buttered new potatoes and a salad for a full meal. As always, it’s up to us to be responsible and ensure the future prosperity of our resources so make sure you stick to your bag limits and know your minimum sizes so we’ll all be able to enjoy nature’s bounty for years to come.
Paua Fritters with Aioli
1/2 C flour
1/2tsp baking powder
1tbs chopped parsley
3 large paua minced
1 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove
Juice of 1 lemon
400ml canola oil
100ml olive oil
Salt and pepper
Finely dice the onion and crush the garlic. Place the onion and garlic in a large bowl with the minced paua, a whisked egg, chopped parsley and the salt. Combine well. Mix together the flour and baking powder then add to the paua mix. Lightly fold in the flour and don’t mix too much, too much mixing will make the mix tough and rubbery. Add the milk, using a little less or a little more if needed to get a stiff batter.
Combine all the ingredients except the oil in a food processor or blender and blend well for 1-2 minutes. With the blender running on high, slowly drizzle in the oil to emulsify and create the aioli. If your aioli is too thick you can add warm water at the end to thin it down if necessary.
MacLean Fraser http://macleanfraser.com/
I first tried fresh squid when working at Elements in Lyall Bay and have never looked back. If you have only tried the pre-frozen tube variety then you don’t know what you are missing. Once chemically tenderized, frozen and then defrosted there is virtually no flavour left and I don’t even bother these days. Whole fresh squid seems to be gaining a little bit of popularity and should be prepared simply. One of my favorite ways is to salt n pepper fry it with some sticky soy sauce; it was the first way I ever tried squid and is still one of my favorites. The other is to sear and lightly cook in a hot pan with some chilli and garlic and tossed with some freshly squeezed lime and picked coriander.
To prepare the squid
Cut the squid down the length of the tube and remove all the insides. Cut off the tentacles and throw out the offal and beak (or save for an awesome burly next time you’re fishing!). Cut the suckers off the tentacles and you are ready to go.
Chilli Garlic Squid with Lime and Coriander
500g whole fresh squid
5 cloves garlic
3 whole red chilli
1/2 bunch fresh coriander
20ml Light olive oil
Flakey sea salt
Vegetable oil (for cooking)
Slice the squid into strips.
If you feel it needs tenderizing you can marinate in some plain milk overnight however I think it is usually unnecessary if you cook the squid lightly; it should have a little bit of 'bite' anyway.
Finely slice the garlic and the chilli (leave the seeds in unless you really don't like a bit of kick) and roughly pick the coriander leaves; a few bits of stalk are fine.
Get your fry pan as hot as you can (it should be pretty much smoking) then off the heat (just in case) add a little bit of cooking oil and then the squid and return to the heat.
Make sure your pan is big enough to easily hold twice the amount of squid you are cooking.
The trick with squid and a lot of seafood is to cook it quickly on a high heat, if your pan is too small or you add too much squid at once the temperate of the pan drops and you won't be searing but will be stewing! In which case you will get no colour and all the water (and flavour) will come out of the squid and make it tough.
Cook your squid for about 20 seconds then throw in the sliced chilli and garlic and cook for another 20 seconds.
Remove from the heat and transfer to a bowl.
Squeeze in your lime juice, add the olive oil and season with flaky sea salt (I don't like using pepper with seafood).
What you are doing here is effectively making a rough and ready vinaigrette out of the lime juice, squid cooking juices, olive oil and the aromatics.
Add the picked coriander and toss all together.
Divide among 4 plates and serve with some crusty bread to soak up the juices if you so desire. Can garnish with some reserved coriander.
MacLean Fraser http://macleanfraser.com/