Dry goods grill’s specialist resource writer John Clarke updates developments in produce, fish and meat supply each issue. The products and or companies mentioned in this column are there because we at grill believe they are of quality and have value to the industry.
Muttonbir ds, truffl es. Plenty winter fr of uit: tama rillos, pe lemons a rsimmon nd mand s, arins. Ya parsnip, ms, chok nice main os, crop spu Brussel sp ds, and routs. Ka hawai, p Northern iper and Bluefin tu na, Cleve oysters a don nd best o f all – Blu And, of co ff oysters urse, tha . t rhubarb .
Our aprico ts, nectari nes and p New Zeala eaches. nd strawb erries and fruit. New passion Zealand g rown bea tomatoes ns and .
Grain/flour Chances are our local flours will be a little harder this year, which is no bad thing. The best New Zealand stone ground organic flour (in any real quantity anyway), is from New Zealand Bio Grains and should be something to look forward to this year. Chantal has a great selection of organic flours from offshore. Kinaki (Wild New Zealand herbs and seasonings.) Both horopito and dried kawakawa leaves are available through Pacific Harvest in Auckland. Try the fresh version but just make sure that whoever does the gathering knows what they are doing. New Zealand sea vegetables, dried karengo – sometimes called parengo which is very similar to nori, and kelp – similar to kombu, can be sourced through Pacific Harvest. You can gather and dry these seaweeds yourself if you know what you are looking for, or check with the local Tangata Whenua. Did you know Greg Heffernan is the sole importer of all the Maldon Salt we use in this country? He also imports a very good organic pepper. He can be contacted at Zest in Taupo – zestcafe@xtra. co.nz. Wild fungi All the good dries distributors/ suppliers will have a selection of dried fungi products from overseas but check the labels. Quite often, taking porcini for example, the front label says ‘porcini’ all right but when you check the tiny print on the back you see a number of Latin names. Many products labelled porcini that come into the country are bulked up
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with the lesser boletes so check carefully. For true porcini there should be only one name – Boletus edulis. Anything else on the label, or more than one Latin name, and it is an inferior product and certainly not exclusively cepe. This may be okay if it is cheap enough and it suits your purpose. Look for dried porcini powder; bloody handy as a booster. Sous Chef has a great range of dries from Menu and Igor including a top Arborio rice at a reasonable price and a range of Saparoso balsamic. A good gluten-free pasta option you can offer coeliac diners and those avoiding gluten is the Coronilla range of organic dries, made from rice and quinoa flours. This produces a palatable pasta getting close to the real thing. Rabitos Royale Fig Bonbons from south-western Spain are truffle-stuffed figs filled with a mousse made of dark chocolate and a hint of brandy then hand dipped in even more dark chocolate. An inspired juxtaposition of flavours and available from Sous Chef.
Dairy The array and quality of New Zealand cheeses is fantastic as I found out at this year’s Cuisine NZ Champions of Cheese Awards. Go to our website www.grill.co.nz to see the full story, the full list of winners and a great little cheese company near you. You can also check out The Produce Company website with 150 mainly local artisan cheeses listed.
EGGS Battery Whatever, this sad excuse for an industry still produces the cheapest egg, so if you are happy to use them, go for it. They are ubiquitous and they taste like fish to me, but millions are sold every day, so I guess… Duck eggs are slowing down and as they do not travel well you will have to find a local supplier. Some farmers markets will have them. Free range and organic egg production is now an industry in its own right; seasonal supply has levelled out and they are consistently available. They are more expensive, but if you want quality you have to pay for it. The Frenz organic free range egg is the best widely available egg for my money. Quail eggs are available all year from Canter Valley farms in North Canterbury. They can send them to you anywhere in the country and quickly too.
POULTRY Chicken Factory chook seems to still appeal to many punters and it is the most economic option. Good organic free range chicken is something seriously special and some of the best are the organically farmed free range chickens and chicken portions from Rolling Hills. Duck Although there is a lot more duck around these days, the line from Canter Valley is still one of the best around and available now countrywide. Check out their website at www.cantervalley.co.nz for the full wholesale list – you will be pleasantly surprised at the range and prices. Poussin is becoming more and more
available, but for some reason the cost has been edging up over the past year. If by the time you read this you are not too late for Matariki, get poussin in (because we aren’t allowed kereru) and use miro to give some sort of approximation (see Miro in the FRUIT section). Squab Not any more damn it. Turkey If you haven’t already got your birds for that northern hemisphere style mid-winter thing that people want to do these days you could get hold of Crozier’s Turkeys. Philip ‘The Turkey Man’ Crozier has been supplying the market for 45 years and they are still out there. These are genuine free range turkeys and are processed without being pumped full of additives. Or you could do a lot worse than getting hold of Canter Valley as they still have a good range of whole bone-in turkey roasts and portions.
FRUIT An expert panel on antibiotic resistance recommended that fruit and vegetables should be monitored for streptomycin residues. But, as far as I am aware, this has never happened. So do we know whether all farmers stop using the spray when they are supposed to, or whether antibiotic residues remain in fruit? Apples All the New Zealand seasonal apples are still good quality so we still don’t need any imported rubbish just yet. Avocados Lots of good quality well priced Haas fruit have been enjoyed by all. Watch the quality from now on.
varieties should have been shot to bits long ago. Due to one of the warmest autumns ever the raspberries from the Olde Berry Farm were available until the end of May. There will still be a few coming onto the market from one grower who has them under plastic but you will have to pay. There are also a few blueberries available at a price. Loganberries are always around and the last of the Keri berries are finishing too. Otherwise it’s frozen product, which is pretty good for most things anyway. Blackcurrants All over. Cherimoya Also known as the custard apple. Coming soon. Citrus New Zealand lemons will be around from now on. New Zealand mandarins are now. All other local citrus will start to come on towards the end of this period too. Feijoas The season should be in full swing again and there should be bucket loads and good prices, but there are not, it has been too dry in most of the growing areas. Still this is a very handy fruit over late autumn and winter. Grapes No New Zealand fruit. It is the tasteless black widow-infested stuff from offshore until late summer. Kiwis The main crop New Zealand fresh fruit has started, but it has been up and down a bit so far because of the big dry. Over summer and autumn when there is so much other good local fresh fruit around it seems odd to me that we have to have northern hemisphere kiwis. What is happening to the joys of seasonality? Mangoes Lots of good Kent mangoes – the green ones – about at the moment. Melons All varieties of New Zealand grown melon are finished, so if you must have them, it is the imported product for you.
Banana What can you say – they just keep coming in. Nothing like the real thing, but there you go. The few fresh sweet ones from Northland are well finished.
Miro Now is the time for that Matariki celebration. Stuff one or two up a poussin’s backside.
Berries Some strange things with the berries this year. Most of the berry
Passion fruit The season for this fruit is now well over for another year.
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PREPARED PRODUCE Pears There will be a pear or two about, but they are deteriorating from now on. The nashi hold on a little longer. Imports are starting though. Persimmons And another good winter fruit. They finish in July but are good keepers so they will be around for a while. Quince These wonderful things may still be ex-storage but it’s the same as for pears, except no imported fruit. Redcurrants are well over. Don’t you just love the seasons. Rhubarb is around all year but a fantastic fruit to have over winter. Stone fruit All over, sadly. Tamarillos See there is lots of fruit in winter. Tropical fruit All the tropical stuff is as usual and it’s up to you to demand quality. Some quite good paw paw coming out of the Philippines at present.
Artichokes (globe) are unavailable until spring, at least except for a few baby ones that should hit the suppliers at the end of August. The Jerusalem artichokes are here though and this is the time for this underutilised vegetable. Asparagus The season is done and dusted. The first of the new season’s will be along in September. You could, of course, buy imported from the USA or the frozen stuff from suppliers such as Penguin. Aubergines Bugger all local of quality, but all the odd ball imported colours are in. Beans The New Zealand season is well over. There was a little local expensive hothouse stuff in the market, but like so much from now on, if you want it, it is really going to be imported product. Beetroot The main season is finished but beetroot is still produced, if in lesser quantity, until November. Broccoli is good now, so long as the heads don’t get too wet.
NUTS Chestnuts coming to a place near you if you are one of the lucky ones. Hazels are still hard to come by and just starting. Once again Chantal have them or go to www.nuttranch.co.nz Macadamia The New Zealand season for fresh nuts is over. Wild walnuts are available from A Cracker of a Nut. Wild Hawke’s Bay nuts are often available from Chantal. All these nuts are getting older now. All other nuts are imported and it is up to you to demand quality.
VEGETABLES Traditionally it’s all the warming winter veges coming on.
Broccolini is still plentiful, but the heads I last saw were a little too open and, for the quality, a little dear. Brussels sprouts are at their best until August. Cabbage The green varieties are available all year as usual and the red is just about done, except for an expensive trickle. Capsicum Absolutely the worst time for capsicums. Almost all the New Zealand grown varieties have gone. There will be some locally grown hothouse (usually hydroponic, and at a price, but it is mostly Aussie and Island stuff now). Carrots are always available and are quite nice this time of year. Cauliflower is available all year and there were some very good heads at one market recently and they weren’t all caulis.
Celeriac is also nowadays available most of the year, and so it should be, and the quality is very good this season, if not the price. Celery is available all year and reasonable quality now. Chard (silver beet) You can get it all the time, but from now on it is the most economic and available vegetable. Choko This handy early-winter vegetable receives flavours very well. It will only be around, straight off the vine, until the beginning of July. But it keeps well so you will still be able to get it until mid-August or so. I don’t know why we do not see more of this about as it grows like a weed and it should always be cheap so make the best of it. Corn As I said there was good Kiwi corn in mid-April this year. We had the warmest autumn for years, (see raspberries) but it had to end. So unless for some reason you wish to use the expensive imported vacuum-packed stuff, play the seasons, or there is always the joy of frozen corn. Courgettes New Zealand zucchinis are finished so if you want it you will just have to pay for it from offshore. Cucumber The main time for fresh Kiwi short cucumbers has had it, but the telegraphs have come back in quantity, all hothouse of course. Fennel More Florence fennel is now available, with good quality and larger bulbs at this time of year. Garlic Some New Zealand garlic is around, but the imports are coming in now. Ginger There was some fairly scrappy stuff around, but I see it has come right. Supplies of ginger in this country are always sourced from offshore. Garnish Always available are the varieties of micro leaves and very cute if you go that way. Prepared Produce’s very cost-effective julienne salad garnish has become very popular in the Auckland
Prepared Produce . 09 276 6079 . 118 Savill Drive . Mangere East . Manukau City . Auckland 2024
PREPARED PRODUCE arena. The sweet corn sprouts are still around and make an unusual garnish for the right dish. Herbs Prices for all the annuals are up and will stay up until the end of October at least. All the fresh herbs are available all year these days so it’s now only a matter of grievous bodily invoices if you go overboard. Have you seen the price of chervil lately? Kohlrabi is available all year now and is in pretty good nick at this time of year. Kumara All varieties of main season: Beauregard (orange, softer, sweet), Tokatoka (yellow, firm, good flavoured), Owairaka and Northern Rose (traditional red, very firm), appear not to be woody (which can sometimes be a problem as the year progresses), and still to be of good quality. Leeks are at their best. Mushrooms and fungi Ah well, all the wild stuff is just about over. There will be the occasional field bits around, but not much to speak of. Our commercially grown truffles should be available during this period. Bloody expensive, but fresh mature truffle is the reason for life. Too expensive? Check out the dries section of this column. All the other commercially grown mushrooms are available as usual. Onions Good supplies of Jumbos with a few New Zealand red onions around, so you may need to buy the Californian ones soon. Parsnip was history, now contemporary. Peas are history. Pikopiko is available all year now, especially good this time of year. Potatoes Lots of good quality main crop potatoes all over the place and plenty
of variety too. The (so called) Maori potato varieties are becoming more easily sourced as more and more growers are getting into them. You should get samples before you buy as there are about two dozen varieties out there. Each type has a different texture, taste and colour and some varieties are not long keepers. We have been getting some great quality peruperu in particular this autumn and they look like holding on through winter. The trick is they need to be kept in the dark and away from plastic. These old trad spuds are generally worth the trouble as they knock the socks off the more common commercial varieties. Earth Gems are pretty available, pretty expensive and pretty pretty. Pumpkin Main crop crown pumpkins and butternut are still out there, but quality is variable. Buttercup and Japanese squash are over till early summer.
Spring onions Always good supplies on the shelves. Swede and turnip If you like to use these vegetables, from now on is your time. Tomatoes New Zealand autumn crop is about over, but there will be some main crop New Zealand hothouse available from the end of August if we are lucky and rich. Mostly, however, it’s the stink imported stuff and that is all too damned expensive for the rubbish it is. Witloof This is one vegetable you need to use as it arrives as it can deteriorate fast unless stored very carefully. I am assured there is some out there waiting for some poor restaurateur who wants to increase his mortgage to serve this delicious vegetable to his diners. Yams Now we can have this great little vegetable for a few months.
Radishes Salad radishes are all in good supply and there is still good daikon about. Salad leaves – as always. Rocket is more expensive now. Nice crunchy icebergs in the markets. And on the note of rocket, it’s good to see real older leaves showing up and the silly marketing gurus are still using the name ‘Wild Italian Rocket’ for this product; hell’s teeth what next! Shallot Still some of this lovely little lady about. Snow peas are available from late spring to late autumn mainly. There are always the expensive few New Zealand grown ones and the expensive imports of course. Sorrel Not common, but there is more of this around than in the past and it grows all the time. Spinach It’s a fine time for this vegetable.
We are heading into the skinny time for most wild game. Birds Farmed quail and pheasant are in shorter supply and guinea-fowl are finished. Wild ducks The shooting season is coming to an end for some of these and we still cannot get them in restaurants. The same also applies to our pukeko, black swan, wild pheasant, and wild (Canada) geese at this time of year. Fish and Game New Zealand has the wild gamebird food festival on at selected restaurants throughout the country. During this festival each restaurant puts on a special wild game bird menu so that hunters can have their bagged birds cooked in a range of dishes. I checked out one of these restaurants, à Deco in Whangarei, and the scheme was going a bomb. The whole thing is a damn good idea, so let’s hope this year’s success is an incentive for expansion in the future.
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The muttonbird (Puffinus griseus), titi, harvesting season has just finished for this year so we will start seeing this delicacy now. The price keeps going up and so it should. This is the only native that can be harvested for sale. Somewhere around 250,000 a season, but no one seems to know for sure. Anyway the rats get a hell of a lot more. Some of the people in the far south set up a group with the cool name Kamate Nga Kiore (Death To The Rats) to get rid of this vermin on the Muttonbird Islands. It has not put more birds on the market, but it has given the birds and other fauna a better chance. Cervena Good quality at present, but schedules are continuing to increase so expect higher costs. As we close in on the game season prices with any luck will level out. Some of our suppliers are still complaining that product can be hard to find. Chamois This species manages to hold on to its condition better than some at this time of year, possibly because they don’t mate till later in winter. New Zealand is one of the very few places in the world where these animals are available and are worth the attention of the chef. This antelope should be farmed in this country. Crocodile (imported). A damn fine white meat. For supply see under kangaroo. Emu and ostrich meat is available for those who want it. Farmed wild boar Yes, there is really now such a thing. Free range boar bred from wild stock and legally reared on a farm in the Taupo region. At present only available in limited quantity from selected outlets but more coming on stream all the time from Neat Meat, The Produce Company and Harmony Foods and sold under the Razorback brand. Great eh! Goat Tends to be skinnier from now on, so choose only the fatter young animals. Hare Always remarkably well priced, but
like most game they tend to lose condition from May onwards. Kangaroo (imported). A damn fine red meat. Available from Premium Game. Possum This tasty animal is so hard to get that road kill may seem the only option, and it is because the only supplier to the market has fallen over due to the ridiculous hoops one has to jump through to make these tasty pests into a saleable item in New Zealand. Rabbit It’s true as suggested in the last issue; rabbit numbers are on the increase. Try Premium Game in Marlborough – the only choice for wild rabbit really. Tahr is a wild mountain goat native to the Himalayas, now happily (barring DOC) at home in Godzone’s alps. This species is still in good condition until mid August. Sexually active animals really stink and this can seriously taint the meat. Venison Wild animals lose their condition from now on as the roar has knocked them around, hinds are in fawn and feed is tight over winter. Wallaby The annual Timaru wallaby hunt knocked over 1000 animals and there is plenty of frozen stuff around. New Zealand wild wallaby is available through some game packing houses.
PRESERVED MEATS Harmony Foods is now producing organic small goods, cured products, salamis, dry cured bacon and Black Forest ham. Prosciutto di Parma It is of course now possible to get prosciutto from Italy, so we do not have to put up with the inferior, greasy Aussie stuff. There is a New Zealand version of prosciutto that is better than anything I seen out of Aussie and bloody near as good as the original with something just a little bit Kiwi about it and is from the
Little Boys range originally designed and developed by chef Jeremy Schmid. The range also includes pancetta, chorizo, salamis and their quite-famous-inNew-Zealand gourmet sausages. Their sausages by the way are all gluten free. All this stuff is available through Zealfresh. Havoc produces a good ham, traditionally cured bacon and a fabulous range of sausages from free range pigs.
RED MEAT BEEF
There are some very fine big cattle being killed at present, which makes for muchimproved flavours. Export prices should come under pressure in this period so do not expect any cost increases. Your local supply butcher or a reliable branded distributor is best; they know your requirements and you should know what you are getting. But it has come to my attention again that some so-called meat suppliers are claiming to sell the above brands, climbing on the back of the hard work that quality suppliers have done to put a decent reliably branded beef into the marketplace aimed at the hospitality sector. This must be bloody annoying for all concerned and chefs and restaurateurs need to be very aware of what they are buying; that it is the genuine product. Chefs need to ask questions like: where the animals were slaughtered; hot boned or cold boned; and where is the branded packaging. Chefs should be able to trust their suppliers and get what they ask for and not get bullshit! And chef, if someone tries it on you let us know at grill and we will follow it up. That’s what we are here for.
VEAL This is the time for real veal and Zealfresh, Harmony and Neat Meat have good lines
Fish & Game . 04 499-4767 . PO Box 13-141, Wellington 6440 . firstname.lastname@example.org
of supply. I have tried these products and, yes, they are all top quality veal.
SHEEPMEAT Hogget is no longer an age grade, however if you want hogget speak to your supplier; if he is any good he will supply what you want. Lamb It still looks as if heavy lamb is the best deal, but it is all bloody expensive. In the market at present the messages are very mixed with big variations between light and heavy lambs, but at whatever size the high dollar cuts are still bloody high. There is, however, real value in the lower braising cuts, boneless rumps, legs, shoulders etc. When we did our lamb taste test we did not get hold of the branded Hawke’s Bay Natural lamb. Well, we cooked up some of this lamb a couple of weeks ago and it was at least equal to the best in the taste test in my humble opinion – available from Zealfresh. Mutton The best for me are two-tooth and four-tooth wethers (your supplier should understand this language), and any time is a good time for flavoursome mutton from fat healthy animals, but don’t expect too much; quality is often down as farmers drop stock because they lack feed on the farm. ORK P Some say the Australian pork we are getting is of better quality than ours, as it generally has a higher pH. Pork with a higher pH is considered to have a much better flavour profile (this is the opposite in beef by the way). New Zealand imports about 10,000 tonnes of pork from Australia where about 30 percent of pig farmers use the growth hormone PST. That means if you eat Australian pork there is a one in three chance it will have been injected with PST. And did you know that Aussie
male pigs are routinely chemically castrated? Is this drug in this imported pork? Who knows? But one pork producer in this country tells me that “women are not allowed to jab them and men who accidentally jab themselves twice are out of action for years”. Murrellen has a good quality control system in place for this problem and not just a few chefs favour this product. Harmony Foods processes and sells very good free range pigs, as does Havoc in south Canterbury. Their pigs are stress free and free range and damn near organic. Whole piglet is still available if you want it, costly though.
FISH AND SEAFOOD SALTWATER FISH Frozen Convenient and economical and you get what you get. Fresh Albacore The season for this underrated fish is done and dusted.
Blue Moki The season for this beautiful fish will have started by the time you receive this issue. Bluenose is a bloody good replacement for the bloody good hapuku and all year round as well. Still in fairly short supply in the local market, but it has picked up a little and I’ve seen quite a bit of frozen bluenose available. I guess it must be convenient in easy-care kitchens or something. But most still goes to Aussie as usual. Dory (black and smooth, mirror, in other words all deep sea Oreo Dory family) are available throughout the year from off the southern east coast. These are often quite good buying, and are worthy of attention. The fillets are small and quite thin, but quite perfect for single servings. Flounder The autumn flounder season is over and numbers will be tighter from now till late spring. Green bone. A terrible name for a wonderful fish. The season is finished. Groper (Hapuku) This is still a bloody good time for hapuku and always bloody expensive all the time.
Alfonsino Fresh alfonsino is in the markets these days. Anchovy New Zealand has bulk anchovies swimming around it, but they all go for bait as companies say no one is willing to pay for them. Maybe not for much longer, I have someone working on it. Antarctic Toothfish This is a summer species only and NOT PC. Blue cod Now that the albacore season is over many of these fisherman are working the blue cod fishery so the Auckland market may even see some if you guys down south relax your exclusive claim to it. Blue cod has beautifully flavoured if delicate white flesh. The best fish come from the furthest south for my money.
Gurnard Always available and there are usually some small ones in the market and at a mere two bucks (yes $2) a kilo. Lovely fish you can’t afford to ignore. Hake Quite lovely eating if treated gently. The short fresh season for this delicate fish starts in July. Hoki This is our largest commercial fishery and June sees the beginning of the annual hoki harvest. So if for some reason you happen to be hanging out for a fresh piece of hoki this is your opportunity. John Dory The short full-on time for this iconic fish is well over, but there will always be a little available at a price.
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Kahawai Still a good time for those big kahawai, and I stick by my guns; as good at least as any other fish in the sea.
Sharks Still a good time for doggies (rig, spotted dogfish etc) and school sharks, and they are all great eating.
Kingfish This is one of our best fish, especially for sashimi. It is damn hard to find as there is never enough quota.
Skate Still waiting for those recipes, please.
Ling The fresh season for ling starts in June and will run till November. The frozen and smoked product is available. Monkfish (stargazer) I cannot give this fish enough raps and nor can New World. It seems New World once thought it so good in fact that they wanted their red cod to be the same thing. Mullet Less of this beautiful fatty fish for a while, but there’s always a few and at a great price. Orange roughy The fresh roughy season is August to October. So don’t worry you people who think it’s a great fish; they will soon be scraping the sea floor clean of everything that lives and you will be able to eat some of these 125-year-old fish fresh; yum yum. Piper This is the best time for this forgotten delectable little fish. Rays Cut the wings off and dry them. You could use the cartilage as an alternative to shark fin as the practice of cutting the fins off sharks and junking the rest is supposed to be banned in New Zealand waters. Red cod Must have mothers so someone can love them. If you come across English or British cod it is just another alias for this cray-pot bait. Salmon, quinnat (sea cage) Plenty available and all three producers have good quality fish. Sardines You can order direct at Salty Dog Seafoods (0-9-433 7002). Can be supplied fresh or snap-frozen free-flow and you can designate the size.
Skipjack tuna There are no skippies for a while sadly. Our industry needs to take a closer look at this little tuna. Snapper The season has past its peak but there will always be a good supply about and still the small plate size fish are the best price. Sole The major catch is over and from now on it will be by-catch stuff. Supply is still restricted in the North Island as this is mainly a southern fish, but it is a much underutilised, premium fish at a relatively low price. Spotted gurnard Inexpensive and not a bad option. Tarakihi The main season is about finished, but there will be some around as always. And there is the eternal frozen product, usually as ‘skin on’ fillets, and skinned and boned fillets, all in 10kg cartons and handy as back up. Trevalley This fantastic common fish is usually well priced. The main season is over so there is less in the market. But by the same token at the moment this fish is of markedly better quality as trevalley at this time of year are caught using ring nets around inshore reefs. Fresher, less squashed and tastier. Tuna This is the season for the northern bluefin tuna. This tuna has a far higher fat content than other tuna so get into ’em. The southern tuna season is over. Turbot and brill come from the west coast of the South Island and have always been a specialty in the area, but now a few of these wonderful large flatfish are turning up in our other fresh fish markets.
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Warehou This is another southern species. The main season is starting soon and the price is always reasonable.
FRESH WATER FISH Eel, longfin and shortfin The fresh season is all year in the North Island. South Island eels start again in August. Smoked eel is always obtainable. The state of our eel fishery is becoming a disgrace, especially in the South Island. Salmon, sockeye can no longer be obtained from Mount Cook Salmon as they have stopped farming this smaller Pacific salmon. Salmon, organic sockeye If you have trouble sourcing this fish it is available direct from New Zealand Clearwater Crayfish near Blenheim – sometimes. Salmon, quinnat Some good fish available and the fish are a little larger. Whitebait The various seasons are well over but not long to wait. Don’t the seasons just roll around? More fresh stuff in mid-August guys.
SHELLFISH Bluff oysters Yep, you can get them now kiddies. Clams Restaurants will find the Golden Bay variety of cockle (littleneck) still okay, and the southern version always in good supply. For my money northern cockles are still the premium shellfish. Clevedon oysters always good, but are now coming to their very best. Kina Just the thing for that something extra in a sauce. Available live from Auckland Fish Markets’ new giant tanks. Kiwi surf clams (tough shell) and Pacific surf clams (triangle shell) You can
always get these very big (for New Zealand anyway) shellfish, but be aware that the meat-to-shell ratio is not as good as most other shellfish. Mussel (Horse) I have noticed a few of these giants turning up in the market of late. You may hear the name ‘Chinese scallops’, well this is what they are talking about. Mussel (New Zealand Greenshell) This is our endemic mussel and a very fine thing it is too. We see so many now that we tend to take them for granted – well don’t. It also has a very high meat-to-shell ratio, higher than any other. It is always available live in the shell and fresh or frozen on the half shell. Mussel meat is still cool for bulking up that chowder. Nelson Bay oysters You should be able to get them as you want them now.
live bivalve shellfish on delivery. Tuatua (inshore) I feel these have the best flavour. As mentioned previously these are getting harder to source as inshore pickers are having a hard time of it at present due to compliance costs and the water is bloody cold too.
CRUSTACEANS Bugs Your imported seafood supplier should have these and they can be a good economic option. Crabs As explained in the last issue, quota for this tasty deep water crab has just been allocated. Problem is right now it appears no one is that keen to go out and get them. But hopefully by the time you read this there will be a trickle on the market and hopefully soon turning to a flood.
New Zealand scallops Fresh are back. Octopus When it’s fresh it’s tasty, and brainy enough to wander off on its own. Pacific oysters are on the improve and will be fattest from June and supplies of this shellfish should be good and the price reasonable. Paua (farmed) These little versions of the wild paua are available and getting bigger and better priced all the time. Paua (wild) This is the seabed and foreshore packaged in a shell. Use it all year if you have the cash. Do not buy contraband paua!
The best part of the paddle crab season is supposed to run until June. This season it appears the crab season slowed right down at the end of April. Still a top crab is a live crab; however for convenience New Zealand crabmeat is available from Foodchain in Auckland. A cheaper lesser quality frozen imported crabmeat (usually from Vietnam) is also available. Crayfish Not the best time for fresh crays. Cost has not been too bad until now, but the big catches are well done. The main season starts again shortly. Koura (farmed organic) The season is effectively over. No more for a couple of months.
Pipi Very, very good eating, though usually only in local markets. Queen scallops These are a deep water type and can be sourced all year; however they are usually only available frozen. Squid The main season for our squid finished in May, but you can always get frozen.
New Zealand prawn are available from the hot water prawn farm at Wairakei near Taupo or Solander in Nelson. They have a more delicate flavour than other prawns and are definitely worth a shot. Imported prawn Ideally the only good prawn is a fresh one.
Tuatua (deep water) Yes, you can get them now and forever. It is important to swim these and all other sand-gathered
New Zealand scampi Always expensive and always exquisite, but there are some better deals at the time of writing for some reason.
Scampi imported (frozen) Cheaper, larger and coarser and do not look half as good on the plate.
grill magazine would like to thank our sponsors for their financial support and unbiased help in the intelligence gathering without which this column would not be possible. Zealfresh; Moana Pacific Fisheries; Prepared Produce; Canter Valley Farm; Sous Chef and Fish & Game NZ. We also wish acknowledge the following for their support in the collecting of impartial information used in the collation of this column. The Produce Company; Wilson Hellaby; Harmony Foods; Neat Meat.
we erred... Terrace Edge Extra Virgin Olive Oil In the last issue of grill, in the Taste feature on extra virgin olive oil, we said that the sample of the oil named below was oxidised and therefore unable to be judged. This was incorrect and grill apologises to Terrace Edge for any distress this has caused.
Terrace Edge, Tuscan Blend 2008, Waipara This oil has subsequently been tasted twice – from both the original sample and from another sample from the same harvest and found to be NOT rancid and in fact to be very good oil. Should our readers wish to procure an EVOO we can highly recommend this oil.
Moana Pacific Fisheries . 09 302 4027 . 138 Halsey Street, Auckland