In Find­ing Fire, flame wran­gler Len­nox Hastie of Syd­ney’s Fire­door shines a light on cook­ing with wood. Here he puts the heat on pipis.

Gourmet Traveller (Australia) - - News -

In Find­ing Fire, Len­nox Hastie shines a light on cook­ing with flame.

Pipis with gar­lic and karkalla


“Found all around the coast of Aus­tralia, pipis have long been an im­por­tant food source for Indige­nous Aus­tralians,” says Len­nox Hastie. “As a young­ster, I would take great de­light in pipi-ing for fish­ing bait by shuf­fling in the sand be­tween tides un­til I felt a shell pop be­tween my toes. While you couldn’t get fresher pipis, they were as gritty as hell. You have to en­sure that pipis are well purged of sand be­fore cook­ing. There’s noth­ing worse than grit in your pipi.” The pipis should be cooked over in­tense heat, says Hastie. He uses ap­ple­wood. 1.6 kg live pipis or small clams, purged and rinsed (see note)

Finely grated rind and juice of 1 le­mon

1 bunch gar­lic scapes

(see note)

100 gm karkalla (see note),


100 ml ex­tra-vir­gin olive oil (a mild, fruity style such as ar­be­quina or ko­roneiki) 1 long red chilli, seeds re­moved and very thinly sliced length­ways

1 cup (firmly packed) flat-leaf

pars­ley, finely chopped 1

Pre­pare the em­bers (see left). Spread em­bers evenly and set a wire rack about 2.5cm above the em­bers.

2 Place pipis di­rectly on the rack, im­me­di­ately cover with a lid and cook for 2-3 min­utes, or un­til they be­gin to open. Un­cover the pipis and, us­ing a pair of tongs, care­fully re­move the pipis as they pop open, and place them in a bowl, re­tain­ing as much of their liquor as pos­si­ble. Add le­mon rind and juice and toss to coat.

3 Mean­while, grill the gar­lic scapes and karkalla over the em­bers to your lik­ing.

4 Heat the olive oil in a small cast-iron pan set over the em­bers. Add the chilli and gently fry un­til lightly golden. Pour the chilli oil over the pipis, then strain the mix of oil, le­mon and pipi liquor into a warm saucepan and whisk to emul­sify. Stir in the pars­ley.

5 Ar­range pipis in a serv­ing bowl and pour the emul­si­fied juices over them, gar­nish with gar­lic scapes and karkalla and serve im­me­di­ately.

Note To pre­pare pipis, dis­card any that are chipped or dam­aged. Tap to check the shells are tightly closed, dis­card­ing any that re­main open. Soak in salted wa­ter for 30 min­utes to purge im­pu­ri­ties, then rinse the pipis in fresh wa­ter. Gar­lic scapes are avail­able from farm­ers’ mar­kets and se­lect green­gro­cers. Karkalla, a beach suc­cu­lent also known as beach banana and pig­face, can be found at grow­ers’ mar­kets and se­lect green­gro­cers; for stockists see Out­back Pride Fresh (out­back­pride­ ●

“As the flames die down, the heat rises, and em­bers emerge. Em­bers pro­vide in­tense, con­sis­tent and clean heat, so this is the ideal time to cook.”

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