Tuautuas are a treat for summer holidays. The sea is warm and it is easy to gather enough Tuatuas from many of our beaches around the country to make this a uniquely kiwi recipe.
First to gather the Tuatuas. Low tide, knee deep water – perhaps a bit deeper, wiggle your toes in the sand as you walk out to deeper water. Hopefully you will feel a few under your toes.
If there’s no sign, don’t give up. Stand in one place and use your hands and toes to dig a few centre metres into the the sand. Place them in an sack or onion bag. Buckets are no good. If after ten minutes of digging around there is no sign or the shellfish, head back to the beach and grab a boogie board or a surf board. No Tuatuas at this beach. At least not today. Often the sands move or the tuatuas move and they can appear in thousands one week, and then disappear the next week.
Once you have gathered enough to have a feed, place the shellfish into a bucket of salt water to store overnight. The bucket should have plenty of water in it. Don’t over load the bucket with shellfish. Use two buckets if necessary. If too many shellfish are put into one bucket on top of each other without enough surface area, the Tuatuas will die. Store the bucket and Tuatuas in a shaded cool place for 24 hours.
The 24 hours gives the little guys enough time to spit out the sand. Cooking them sooner will risk you having a mouthful of sand, so thinking ahead is useful.
After 24 hours its time to cook.
Prepare your bar B que (wood or gas) as usual. I prefer wood barB que as there is a nice smoky flavour that is delicious.
Simply place the shellfish on the grill over the heat. The shellfish will pop open. Don‘t overcook the shellfish. They can be taken from the heat as soon as they open and then eat immediately .
Get some water boiling, add some crushed garlic and half a bottle of wine, so when you add the shellfish to the boiling mixture, the water and wine are almost covering them. Add some salt.
Place the shellfish into the boiling mixture and watch them pop open. Remove as soon as they open and eat immediately.
Match with Matahiwi Sauvignon Blanc.