Mussels with Bay leaves, Garlic and Pikopiko
Serves 8 as an entrée.
Pikopiko is the delicacy of Aotearoa bush kai and a massive treat. It tastes a bit like a cross between asparagus and green beans. Never pick more than you need and only pick a third of what the plant is offering you i.e. if you find a plant with three pikopiko on it, pick one. If it only has one, then don’t pick it.
Tikanga (protocol) is very important when foraging indigenous ingredients. This karakia or prayer should be uttered when foraging to honour and to give thanks to the plant. And as you forage be mindful. The plants are listening.
Nāu nei ngā hua
Hei oranga mō te ngāhere
Hei oranga mō te maara
Tēnei au e whakaake nei
Kia ora i tēnei rongoā, (i ēnei hue),
Nā e Taane e
Tuturu whaka māua Kia tīna
Haumie hui e
3 kg mussels, cleaned
10 bay leaves
1 bulb garlic, minced
2 T olive oil
1 c white wine or fish stock or water
Juice of 1 lemon (if using stock or water)
To prepare the pikopiko, hold the stalk and bend it gently and, like asparagus, it will snap cleanly off at its snapping point. Run the pikopiko under cold water and carefully clean the tips. Use your fingers to gently rub any brown speckles off the stalks.
Fill your Old Dutch with the mussels and tuck half the bay leaves into the mussels and arrange the pikopiko creatively on top.
Pour the olive oil into your Lil' Legacy and heat till it is smoking hot. Add the minced garlic and fry until the garlic is just starting to brown, stirring all the time.
Add the white wine or fish stock or water and lemon juice and remaining bay leaves and simmer for 2 minutes. It should smell amazing! Pour this over the top of the mussels, place lid on the pot and steam for 5 mins until the mussels open.
Mānawatia a Matariki!