Featured in Capital #66 Subscribe to get the real thing here
This dish is one of those special treats that you remember long after you have eaten it.
Our family has grown up surrounded by New Zealand’s best beaches and coastlines and there is nothing better than heading out to gather fresh kaimoana. In New Zealand, pāua are commonly found in shallow coastal waters, along rocky shorelines in depths of 1–10 m. You can find pāua along most of the Wellington coastline that is rocky with tidal flow – try Makara or Red Rocks. Remember to always dive in pairs!
In this recipe we use Jerusalem artichokes which are in season from June to late spring, but you could substitute your favourite root vegetable. Jerusalem artichokes have a taste that is sweet and nutty with a hint of oyster and a dash of soil. The texture when pureed is of unparalleled velvety smoothness and the pāua/mushroom combo is the perfect companion to this earthy gem.
50g unsalted butter 1 leek, washed and thinly sliced (white part only) 1 large onion, peeled and diced 1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed 250g Jerusalem artichokes, (scrubbing clean works, or peel using a teaspoon) ½ cup white wine 2 bay leaves 2 cups unsalted chicken stock ½ cup dried shiitake mushrooms 100ml cream flaky sea salt ¼ tsp white pepper 1 large pāua truffle oil
In a large pot on a medium low heat, melt the butter and saute the leek and onions until soft but not coloured.
Add garlic and saute on low for a further three minutes.
Chop the artichokes into chunks and add to the onion mixture.
Add the wine and reduce by half.
Add bay leaves and chicken stock and simmer, reducing by half.
Place the shiitake mushrooms in a small bowl and cover with boiling water.
Continue to cook the soup, adding ½ cup of the liquid from the mushrooms.
When the artichokes are soft, take off the heat and puree with a stick blender until silky smooth.
Stir the cream into the soup, season with salt and white pepper, and keep warm.
Prepare pāua by levering flesh off shell, separating the foot from the membranes and guts.
Push out the pāuas teeth, you can feel them like small bones and they can easily be pushed out. The teeth are at the front end of the pāua.
Rinse pāua in fresh water and slice as thinly as possible lengthways.
Sauté the pāua slices in a dash of olive oil on a high heat for 30-40 seconds on each side.
Remove the mushrooms from the liquid and drain on paper towels.
Thread slices of pāua and mushrooms onto skewers.
Pour the soup into the serving glasses.
Drizzle soup with a small amount of truffle oil and freshly cracked pepper.
Place pāua skewers on the top of glasses and serve.