My daughter from London is here, with her boyfriend, the first time she’s seen Redbank. She’s come from the snowstorms, and having been raised in the seaside town of Russell, in the Bay of Islands, she has a penchant for paua. So yesterday, after riding the horses (first time she’d been on a horse in about seven years, she said) we headed for the coast – Tora (in Maori, to burn or blaze, or, erect). It was a bit of a windy cold day, as you can see by her attire, but after checking with some locals who seemed to know what they were doing, diving in the rocks, we donned our swimming gear and went in. There were hundreds of little paua, which we left behind, and were quite pleased with ourselves when we actually got one to bring home. After all, we had no goggles, snorkles, wetsuits or weight belts, just Valentine in her bikini and me in my togs.
We also found a basking seal. They look pretty benign, and as kids always do, Valentine asked me what would happen if she tried to pat it. I said try it and find out – my standard advice to curious children – and of course the seal made as if to go for her.
Back home, I cooked up her one paua, using the recipe I always use:
Clean the paua, then slice thinly. Don’t beat. Finely dice half an onion (for one paua) and crush a clove of garlic. Heat butter in pan and saute onion and garlic until soft, then turn up heat and throw in paua, quickly toasting it around the pan until it just curls, add salt and pepper and serve immediately, back in the paua shell.