I thought I would interrupt my series of Japanese blog posts with a short and sweet recipe which I've just cooked and adored. I know that all lovers of shellfish will be delighted with this gratin as not only does this recipe bring out the distinctive natural qualities of fresh mussels and clams, but it is also ridiculously easy and quick to prepare.
For the time-poor (me, me, me!), you will love that Omega Seafood's products are ready-to-use which means no time wasted scrubbing and inspecting, etc! They're also a family-owned manufacturer and you all know how much I like to support independent producers/businesses.
Plus, they've kindly offered an amazing buy one get one free deal for JENIUS readers. Scroll down for the full details.
And this is how fresh they are - taking Greenshell mussels grown in the pristine waters of New Zealand, Omega Seafood inspect, wash and partially de-beard them before the mussels are placed in a plastic pouch. The pouch is then vacuum packed before being cooked under pressure at high temperature in a steam retort (industrial pressure cooker).
Natural flavours are captured and retained through this process while food safety and product shelf life are enhanced. The products thus feature no additives and can be chilled or frozen, giving Sydneysiders like me, an opportunity to enjoy New Zealand's freshness all the way from over here.
The packs of clams are even better as the broth in the pack are perfect for risottos or chowders. New Zealand Littleneck Clams are sourced from a sustainably managed fishery in New Zealand's pure Golden Bay. They are then bathed in natural seawater to release any grit before being pouched and cooked in a similar process to their mussels. The only main difference is that the clams cannot be frozen as the shells are delicate and may crumble.
So anyway, here is the recipe -
Adapted from Australian Gourmet Traveller - Seafood (ACP Publishing)
125ml dry cider
2 sprigs of thyme
2x 1kg packs of Omega Seafood Mussels
2x 1kg packs of Omega Seafood Clams
½ cup breadcrumbs, made from day-old bread
Finely grated rind of 1 lemon
½ cup flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
½ cup dill sprigs, chopped
100g butter, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
Open 2 packs of mussels by breaking the seal. Remove the mussel meat from shells and place aside.
Open 2 packs of clams by breaking the seal. Reserve half the broth for future use (great for chowders, risottos, soups or sauces), and pour the clams and remaining broth into a large ovenproof dish or pan. Scatter mussel meat.
Place cider and thyme in a saucepan, bring to boil and pour over the dish of clams and mussels then place into a 200°C oven for 5-10 minutes.
Combine breadcrumbs, lemon rind and herbs in a bowl and season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Melt butter in a small frying pan, add garlic and stir over low heat for 3 minutes or until fragrant but not browned. Drizzle 6 tablespoons of the garlic mixture over the dish, then return saucepan to heat, add breadcrumb mixture to remaining butter in pan and stir over low heat for 2 minutes or until well combined.
Sprinkle breadcrumb mixture evenly over shellfish, then place under a hot grill for 5 minutes or until breadcrumbs are golden and crisp. Serve immediately.
This dish is wonderful all-round, from the fragrance of the garden-fresh herbs, to the plump juiciness of the shellfish and the crunch of the toasted breadcrumbs.
Omega Seafood have kindly offered a buy 1 get 1 free deal for all JENIUS readers! Simply mention 'JENIUS' at participating De Costi Seafood stores between 11 - 24 October and buy a 1kg pack of Omega Seafood Greenshell Mussels (RRP $8.99) or a 1kg pack of Omega Seafood Littleneck Clams (RRP $12.99) to get the second pack free!
Terms and conditions:
De Costi will give 2 packs of Omega clams/mussels for the price of 1 pack (limit of 1 free pack of mussels and 1 free pack of clams per species, per person per promotional period. The promotional period runs 2 weeks commencing Monday 11/10/2010 and ending Sunday 24/10/2010). Note that the offer applies to stores selling the omega range. For participating stores see the list of stockists at Omega Seafood's website
JENIUS received the shellfish featured in this post with thanks to Omega Seafood.