The South Coast is fast gaining a reputation as being the Australian Oyster Coast through marketing and an initiative so establish a collective of growers and market the uniqueness of the South Coast product and value add to it with an Oyster Trail for visitors to the coast. The initiative has seen a marked increase in the attention the local oyster industry has achieved with the value adds of pop-up cafes and kayak tours. Most often overlooked on this coast however are the delectable mussels from Eden that are grown there and then dispatched to all corners of the globe, often by-passing our own local cafes and restaurants. Mussels take a talent to be able to prepare and present them in such a way that they retain the full essence of the sea and retain the softness of bite. Most often they are overcooked and muscular and, whilst still attached in the shell, a challenge for many unfamiliar with the ways of using a half shell as a dexterous and effective scoop for both the meat and the sauce. Yes, there HAS to be sauce, a long simmering, reducing, rich sauce. This time of year where the air is developing a European chill it begins to feel like a Spring day in Barcelona. A perfect dish to be served on such a day in an open garden under a big blue sky might look like this:
Above: Eden mussels as served by Blue Earth, Bodalla: Catalan style mussels simmered in a tomato, caper, olive, orange and basil sauce served with fresh rocket and garlic bread.