You often hear people like me waxing lyrical about the high standard, exclusivity and provenance of their ingredients. But where does that leave the other 85 per cent of the population who can’t afford or don’t have access to such food?
In 2011 I was frustrated by the quality of the mussels we were receiving — one day they would be great, another day rubbish. One morning I finally cracked it and asked our supplier Clamms Seafood to gather up a sample of mussels from every available source and bring them to us. There were mussels from six different producers from around Australia. We tested each against each other for freshness, flavour and texture. One sample stood out as a beacon of quality in a sea of mediocrity. I rang my supplier and friend
Jason and I decided to visit the farm to have a close look at their operations and to meet the owner/farmer
I’d left it too late to cancel, however, and when
In the past
How can I truly appreciate the effort it takes to grow a great sustainable ingredient if I know nothing of it. It’s this knowledge and understanding that makes me a better cook because it’s not just my reputation on the line. All of our customers know that these are Sea Bounty mussels.
When I’m cooking there are voices inside my head and they are saying: ‘Don’t you screw this up, don’t you even think about it, you pussy.’ The voices are telling me ‘you’ve seen the effort it takes to grow this … don’t you mess it up’. I might as well spit in the face of
The best ingredients are grown when man interferes with them the least. And that’s what you have with the mussels from the Wiffens — they’re better and more sustainable than wild. They’re an ingredient that all Victorians can access and afford.
Heat the oil in a deep-sided medium saucepan to 200°C (392°F).
Coat the mussels in the rye crumb, gently place in the hot oil and deep-fry for 30 seconds. Remove the mussels with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel.
Place the hairy weed on each plate and place a mussel on top. The hairy weed acts as a cake rack of sorts — allowing the air to circulate around the mussel so it doesn’t go soggy on one side. Place a sprig of wild sea succulent on each mussel. Allow the mussels to rest for 1 minute from the time you remove them from the oil until serving.
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