“When it comes to food, Eurobodalla has it all,” says TV chef and Bermagui local Paul West, who recently filmed a series of cooking demonstrations for the inaugural Taste Eurobodalla Festival, a month-long event that showcases the region’s food and hospitality industries. “From the bounty of our estuaries and seas to the rich rolling pastures and abundant forests, it’s a cook’s paradise.”
During the 2020 festival, the host of SBS TV’s River Cottage Australia cooked up a storm with some of the region’s top produce. Here Paul shares four of his favourite recipes showcasing some of the region’s most iconic ingredients.
Bodalla Dairy smoked halloumi with zucchini and almonds
- 200g of Bodalla Dairy smoked halloumi
- 2 zucchini
- Small bunch of mint
- Small bunch of pea shoots
- 60ml of olive oil, plus extra for frying
- 20ml of red wine vinegar
- 1 tsp of Dijon mustard
- ½ cup of almonds
Slice the halloumi into 1cm-thick pieces. Place a fry pan over a medium heat along with some olive oil and once it’s hot, fry the halloumi for a minute or so on either side or until it is nicely browned on both sides. Remove the halloumi from the pan, but leave the pan on the heat. Quickly cut the tops and bottoms off the zucchinis and cut them into quarters lengthwise, then place them in the pan – you may have to cook them in batches. Cook for a minute on each side, so that they are nicely browned and cooked through but still holding their shape. Remove the zucchini from the pan and arrange on a serving plate.
Quickly make a dressing by combining the oil, vinegar and mustard along with a little salt and pepper. Combine the shoots and mint in a small mixing bowl and drizzle over enough dressing for them to be lightly coated. Arrange the salad on top of the zucchini, then slice the cooked halloumi and scatter it over the top, along with the roughly chopped almonds.
Clyde River oysters with cucumber salsa
The idyllic Clyde River estuary system west of Batemans Bay is home to some of the most successful oyster farmers on the NSW South Coast. Its best known oyster variety (which you can pick up from The Oyster Shed on Wray Street) pairs beautifully with this fresh salsa.
- 1 dozen Sydney rock oysters, unshucked
- 1 small cucumber
- ½ bunch of parsley, finely chopped
- 2 eschalots (French shallots, like a small brown onion)
- 50ml of balsamic vinegar
- 50ml of extra virgin olive oil
Shuck the oysters and arrange them on a serving platter. Cut the cucumber in half lengthways and use a teaspoon to scrape the watery seeds out. Peel the eschalots and then finely dice them. Mix the eschalots, cucumber, parsley vinegar and olive oil together in a small mixing bowl. Spoon it over the top of the oysters and enjoy straight away.
Mogo Village Honey, bananas and almonds
- 4 bananas
- 4 tbsp of Mogo Village Honey
- 40g of butter
- 30m of rum
- ½ cup of hazelnuts, roughly chopped
- Vanilla ice cream to serve
Combine the honey and butter in a clean, large frying pan that has been placed over a medium low heat. Once the mixture starts to spit and bubble, remove the skin from the bananas, cut them in half lengthways and place them in the pan. Cook them for three or four minutes, turning them over halfway through the cooking time. Once the bananas are nearly cooked, add the rum and cook it for a few moments more so that the alcohol cooks out of the spirit. Place the bananas on a plate, spoon over the honey butter sauce, add a scoop of vanilla ice cream and then scatter the nuts over the top of it all to finish.
Mystery Bay Kelp, tomato and pickle salad
Packed with essential nutrients and known for its mild flavour base, Ecklonia radiata (common kelp) is one of nature’s ultimate superfoods. The folks at mbK For Life (also known as Mystery Bay Kelp) forage it from local beaches to create their range of delicious seasonings; use their garlic-infused kelp to jazz up an Italian-style tomato salad for four.
- 1 tbsp of mbK For Life Garlic Infusion
- 500g of mixed tomatoes
- 50g of pickled chillies
- 50g of whole Kalamata olives
- ½ bunch of basil
- Olive oil
- Black pepper
Chop up the tomatoes in a variety of ways, then arrange them on a serving plate. Generously sprinkle the garlic-infused kelp over the tomatoes, reserving a little, along with some black pepper to taste. Roughly chop the chillies and the olives, being sure to discard the olive pits, and then scatter the chillies and olives over the tomatoes. Roughly tear the basil and scatter it over the top of everything along with the reserved kelp. Give the whole thing a little drizzle of olive oil and it’s good to go!