Washing and serving pips and periwinkle
One of the greatest culinary gifts from North America is clamato juice, which is the combination of tomato juice and clam broth. It has an incredible balance of acids and umami, and, when combined with vodka and celery and pickles, things get wild. It was a brave person to first decide on serving this combination cold.
A direct relative of the clam in the bivalve sector is the pipi. The pipi is defined by a triangular shell and is found in the shallows of estuaries and beach sand flats. Pipis are very accessible to gather – you just need to be wary of the catch limits and any nearby contaminants that could affect the water quality. A quick purge overnight in clear saltwater will deal with the sand and grit, then just give one final rinse and you are good to go.
There are few things that conjure up stronger images of summer for me than shuffling barefoot in shallow saltwater and sand to track pipis down. Alternatively, they are about $18 a kilo from the market.
For the next level of funk, we bring in the periwinkle. On a recent trip to the west coast of Tasmania I survived almost exclusively on these grilled open over coals. I have since developed a real love for them. Almost like a poor man’s abalone, they can go horribly wrong with the texture if cooked too long or too short. But persist and the rewards are worthwhile.
This dish is a bit of a celebration of all things shallow-water-gathering. Plus, the addition of potatoes
• and butter has never hurt a thing.