Monday, June 13, 2016

Periwinkle-Pork-Seaweed Filling (makes about 2 pounds)

Recently after working a full day I headed to the ocean--a few miles away from my work site. I rolled up my sleeves and pant legs, removed my shoes and socks and waded in the water. If you do this just be extremely careful since the seaweed can be quite slippery. I foraged over 3 pounds of periwinkles (ocean snails), some sea vegetables (also known as seaweed or sea herb) and even a few invasive green crabs! These periwinkles are about a half inch to one inch in length and are found attached to rocks along the shore at low tide. I recommend that you harvest snails and sea vegetables only in clean water and away from people, homes or buildings. The best way to harvest sea vegetables is to use a pair of scissors and trim near the base so that they can regrow. Pick only what you can eat to prevent waste.

Once home I kept the snails covered in cold water for several hours to help purge some of their impurities. I then washed them well in several changes of clean cold water. I boiled them in water for 5 minutes. Drain them and once cooled remove the snails using a toothpick (a bamboo skewer will work too). You will know that the snails are not cooked if you are unable to pull them out of their shell easily. Three pounds of whole snails (including the shells) yields about 8 ounces of just snail meat! You can scoop them out and eat them right away with your favorite dipping sauce or reserve the snail meat for cooking. If you eat the cooked snails right away you can eat them while they are hot or cold. If they are hot be careful not to burn your fingers or tongue! I gave some boiled periwinkles to my friend Sabune to try. She described them as "delicious--salty and earthy".

Check out my previous posts on periwinkles for a few other ideas.

Boiled Periwinkles (this has a sauce) 
Sauteed Escargot with Duck Fat
Periwinkles with Garlic and Lemongrass

Boiled Periwinkles (about 8 ounces of snail meat)

Ingredients:

3 lbs freshly harvested periwinkles
Water

Method:

Soak the periwinkles in cold water for 2-3 hours so they can purge out some of their impurities. Wash them well in several changes of clean cold water (4-5 times if needed). Put the cleaned periwinkles in a pot, add enough cold water to cover the periwinkles, and bring the water to a boil for 5 minutes. Drain the snails into a colander. Use a toothpick and remove the snail from its shell. Discard the shell and the thin brown flap (or sometimes I call this its door). You may enjoy the hot snails as is with your favorite dipping sauce or you can save the snail for later use.

*You may add fresh seaweed, lemongrass (cut in half and bruised with a flat part of a knife to help release its flavor) or even some guava leaves (if you have any) in the boiling pot for a hint of extra flavor.
*If you want to use them for making the stuffing as seen below then wait until they are cooled before handling them. 
*When you harvest the periwinkles try to take only the largest ones. You will understand the reason once you are trying to remove them from their shell! Three pounds of periwinkles yields about 8 ounces of meat.
*If you are not going to eat them right away then cook them first, drain, and once cooled keep them refrigerated to be eaten later. They are good in the refrigerator for about 4-5 days. 

freshly harvested periwinkles
snail meat removed from their shells
different types of sea vegetables (gracilaria, Irish moss, and sea lettuce)
cooked bacon, onion, sccallions, garlic, ginger,
sea vegetables, salt, pepper, and sugar
putting all ingredients together
periwinkle-pork-seaweed filling (all blended together)
Periwinkle-Pork-Seaweed Filling (makes about 2 pounds)

Ingredients:

2 tsp olive oil
3 bacon strips (about 3 1/4 oz), diced
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped scallions, green part only
2 large garlic cloves, grated
2 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
3 1/2 oz fresh sea vegetables (sea lettuce, gracilaria, Irish moss), washed well, chopped
1/2 tsp crushed sea salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper (white or black)
1/2 tsp sugar
1 lb lean pork
A handful of cilantro leaves (about 1/3 cup chopped), chopped
8 oz cooked periwinkle meat only (see above), roughly chopped
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp mirin (Japanese rice wine)

Method:

1) Heat a medium sized pan over medium high heat. Add olive oil once the pan is hot.
2) Add bacon and onion. Stir and saute for about 2 minutes or until the onion is soft.
3) Add scallions, garlic, ginger, sea vegetables, salt, pepper, and sugar. Stir and saute for about 3 minutes or until the sea vegetables and bacon bits are cooked. Remove from heat and let the contents cooled completely.
4) Add pork, cilantro leaves, periwinkles, sesame oil, turmeric powder and mirin. Gently mix until all ingredients are well blended.

*I prefer to use pancetta but I was not able to purchase a small piece at the local store so I used hardwood smoked sugar cured bacon.
*I used sea lettuce, Irish moss, and gracilaria that I harvested from the ocean. If you have other types of seaweed you prefer then add that. Check out my previous post on Maine Seaweed Festival 2015 for photographs of different sea vegetables found in Maine and New Hampshire.

ocean pearls (appetizers)
stuffed lumaconi (snail pasta) with tomato sauce

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