Pos­sums make the cut in kitchen

Townsville Bulletin - - CLASSIFIEDS -

ONE of Aus­tralia’s most po­lar­is­ing pro­tected species now comes served as a pop­u­lar pie.

A Vic­to­rian chef has put pos­sum on the menu in a move that is set to spice up Aus­tralia’s fine food in­dus­try. Chef Leonie Clay­ton has been serv­ing up the mar­su­pial at her Stawell res­tau­rant for months and said lo­cal food­ies have been lov­ing it.

‘’ I have been cook­ing for 32 years and have al­ways loved ex­per­i­ment­ing with dif­fer­ent in­gre­di­ents and meats,’’ Mrs Clay­ton said.

Wal­laby, kan­ga­roo and crocodile have all made the cut in her kitchen but she said it was pos­sum that had drawn the great­est re­sponse.

‘’ We started cook­ing it as a pie and peo­ple couldn’t get enough,” she said. ‘’ There would al­ways be at least one per­son at the ta­ble who would try it.’’

Pa­trons at Stawell’s Gold­fields Com­fort Inn can cur­rently en­joy the Pos­sum Cas­soulet for $ 31.50 but Mrs Clay­ton hasn’t ruled out bring­ing back the pie. She said pos­sum meat was sweet and sur­pris­ingly ten­der.

“Some might ar­gue that eat­ing a pro­tected mar­su­pial is cruel but the same could be said for any pro­tein on your plate.’’

She has been sourc­ing the pos­sums from a farmer in Tas­ma­nia where a com­mer­cial har­vest­ing man­age­ment plan has ex­isted since 2010. It al­lows per­mit hold­ers to ei­ther shoot or trap the an­i­mals to be slaugh­tered by a li­censed pro­ces­sor. The scheme has been hailed for keep­ing pos­sum pop­u­la­tions man­age­able.

“If num­bers are at pest lev­els and you can value- add to some­thing you have to cull any­way, it makes good sense,’’ a depart­ment in­sider said.

Celebrity chef Ste­fano de Pieri said it was an in­no­va­tive idea.

“It’s all pro­tein, no prob­lem,’’ he said. “If I was in a res­tau­rant that served pos­sum I would cer­tainly try it and I don’t think there is any fear of re­duc­ing the pos­sum pop­u­la­tion.’’

Pic­ture: JASON ED­WARDS

MAGIC: Gold­fields Com­fort Inn chef Leonie Clay­ton has put pos­sum on the menu.

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