FOOD: Pipis and periwinkles with new potatoes and seaweed butter.
Serves 4 – 100g shallots, sliced
– olive oil
– 60ml sherry vinegar
– 20g kombu
– 80g wakame
– zest of 1 lemon
– 200g butter, diced (at room temperature)
– salt and pepper
– 100g periwinkles
– 200g pipis
– 150ml white wine
– 1 clove garlic
– 400g waxy very small potatoes (pink fir apple or Dutch cream) – 300ml chicken stock
– lemon juice
– 6 large leaves French sorrel, shredded Cook the sliced shallots in a little olive oil until they begin to brown, then remove from the heat and deglaze the pan with the sherry vinegar. Toast the seaweeds in an oven at about 170ºC for about 10 minutes, then crush them in your hands, place in a spice grinder and render to dust. Combine the shallots, lemon zest, butter and seaweeds in a bowl and mix until smooth. Season heavily with salt and pepper, then roll into a log and seal in cling wrap. Refrigerate.
To prepare the periwinkles, place an empty, heavy-based pot large enough to hold them in a single layer over a high heat. Put the periwinkles in a bowl, run under cold water and agitate for 10 seconds or so. Retain about 100 millilitres of the water in the bowl with the periwinkles, then tip it all into the scalding hot pot. Place a tight-fitting lid over the pot, then agitate over the heat several times for the 40 seconds it will take to cook. Tip the periwinkles back into the bowl and let cool for about one minute before removing the meat. I find the best way is to take a turning knife or thick canvas sewing needle, then flick the protective shell out of the cavity before piercing the meat and pulling out. This is the point where you can decide how adventurous you want to be by setting boundaries for how much of the moving parts you want to eat. (Things get more intense towards the tail.)
Boil the potatoes gently in their skin in salted water until cooked, then remove the skin. Place the potatoes back into a pot, together with about 100 millilitres of the stock from the pipis and the chicken stock, and simmer gently. This liquid will reduce and thicken slightly with the starch released from the potatoes. Once the liquid is about the consistency of pouring cream, add 120 grams of the seaweed butter and stir over a gentle heat until melted. Finish with a squirt of lemon juice.
For the pipis, it’s much the same, so reheat the pot over the flame and tip the pipis, wine and garlic clove in once it is hot. Place a snug-fitting lid on and agitate regularly. Keep an eye on the pipis and remove them when they have popped open, one by one. Strain the juice back over the cooked pipis and let them sit.
Place the potatoes on a plate and finish with the pipis and periwinkles and shredded sorrel leaves.
Photography: Earl Carter