Sunday, 7 January 2007
Today’s Weekend Herb Blogging combines two very unique and interesting ingredients: Moreton Bay Bugs and Donut Peaches.
Today I was just going to blog about the peaches and leave it at that, but then Jonas told me it would be much more interesting if I included a recipe. Since I just happened to have a Moreton Bay Bug in the fridge (as you do!), I whipped up this little ceviche in no time.
The sweetness of the peaches contrasted perfectly with the sweet bug meat and a tiny dash of chilli sauce lifted the flavours perfectly (although I warn against too much, both the bugs and peaches are delicate).
Bugs are an Australian icon and featured on the BBC’s list of “50 things to eat before you die”. I love them. They are easy to handle (cut off the head and scoop out the meat from the tail: no fuss, no claw mining, no brain leakage!) and they taste fantastic.
These heirloom fruits are making a comeback! Originating in southern and central China, they were once called China Flats – a salute to their origins and the people that brought them to Australia.
In the US they were called Chinese saucer peaches and peento or pan tao, before they fell out of favour with consumers (apparently early Americans preferred the orange fleshed peaches). Their current name “donut peach” was apparently a marketing decision.
They are about 5cm across and about 3cm high with pale yellow fur flushed with a rosy pink. The stone is just a fraction larger than a cherry stone. The white flesh tastes very sweet and juicy, just like nectarines. According to one website I read these peaches have a low acid to sugar ratio making them sweeter than more common varieties.
It is believed that they have been grown in China for over 3,000 years and were eaten wild for a significant time before that.
Moreton Bay Bugs
The Moreton Bay bug (Thenus orientalis) has many names such as bay lobster, flathead lobster, gulf-lobster, mudbug, sandbug, shovelnose lobster, slipper lobster, squat lobster and squilla.
When buying a bug the Sydney Fish Market website instructs you to look for “brightly coloured, firm, intact, lustrous shells, without any discolouration, particularly at joints, and a pleasant fresh sea smell”.
Moreton Bay Bug w Donut Peach Salsa
Anna’s very own recipe. Serves 2 as an amuse bouche or appetizer.
2 uncooked Moreton Bay Bugs (approx ½ kg)
2 donut peaches
2 tablespoons coriander, chopped finely
½ teaspoon Louisiana Hot Sauce (or Tabasco or fresh chilli)
¼ cup lime juice
1. Cook bugs in boiling water for 2 minutes. They will turn bright orange like a lobster. Remove from water and cool completely, allowing bugs to drain.
2. Cut the bugs’ heads off, just where they join with the tail. Scoop out the meat from the tail and the head cavities. If you’re a little obsessive like me, wash the meat and pat dry with paper towels.
3. Shred meat into bite sized morsels with your hands and put into a bowl. Top with lime juice.
4. Dice peaches into tiny cubes and add to the bowl. Add coriander and mix well to combine.
5. Allow to sit for 15 minutes to ‘cook’ a little in the lime juice.
Add Louisiana Hot Sauce and mix well. Eat with gusto.
This is the first Weekend Herb Blogging for 2007 and it’s hosted by the Herb Goddess herself, Kalyn at Kalyn’s Kitchen. Be sure to check out Kalyn’s herbaceous recap.
Another quick note, this recipe was submitted to the Best of 2007: Foodblogger's Recipe Collection. An event hosted by Zorra from Kochtopf and Sandra from Un Tocco di Zenzero where food bloggers from around the world submitted their best recipes from 07. I chose this one because I thought the ingredients were unique, especially the bug, and that people might enjoy reading about it.
Tags: morsels and musings food blog food and drink australia recipes weekend herb blogging whb appetizer entree seafood recipes ceviche moreton bay bug donut peach coriander cilantro lime