Since moving to the Sunshine Coast, I’ve been repeatedly impressed by all the cool food and drink offerings I’ve discovered within the community. Besides the roadside signs for eggs (goose and duck: oh heaven), I’ve come to realize there’s a myriad of farms and businesses essentially hidden behind the fences, trees and hedges that line the 101. Mostly small, family operations growing and producing a remarkable selection of fruit and veg but also livestock farmers with heirloom pigs, sheep, goats and more. For those willing to look a little deeper, the Coast is a forager’s dream. Mushrooms, sea asparagus, kelp products… And let us not forget the local businesses producing great food items but maybe flying a bit under the radar. Artisanal bakers, specialty farms growing and producing items normally found only in gourmet shops. There are also micro cideries, breweries and distillers using locally sourced ingredients to create their wares. Our little region is a food and drink enthusiast’s hidden gem.
This marks the first periodical in which Coast Culinary Collective is putting the spotlight on some of these people that are impressing us. This has nothing to do with Covid 19 but rather just giving credit where credit’s due.
Potters Black Garlic
The first people we’d like to highlight are “Potter’s Black Garlic” in Halfmoon Bay. Coast Culinary was very pleasantly surprised to discover there was someone on the Coast growing and producing black garlic. Mike and Susan started their venture last year and have 2700 (!!!) plants growing on their farm. Courtesy of the C19 pandemic, we haven’t had the opportunity to meet yet nor tour the farm/ operation but I still want to share their story and product.
You don’t see this stuff very often and when you do find it, it’s typically in pricey gourmet stores. And it deserves to be pricey. First you grow the garlic which takes 9 months and once harvested, the process to turn the bulbs into black garlic is a slow heating technique lasting several weeks. That said, Potters is good deal at $20/ 5 heads. What you end up with is uber cool and delicious. Flavours of Balsamic Vinegar and molasses would be the easiest tastes to mention. And it’s super versatile in it’s culinary applications. There are 100’s of recipes on the web from salad dressings, starters, main courses, sauces and desserts. I was given a dozen bulbs, 6 each of Spanish Roja and Cesnok Red. All types of garlic have their own characteristics and the food community is highlighting this more all the time; re Elephant Garlic or Russian, etc. When converted to black garlic, the Roja has a sweeter personality whilst the Chesnok a smoky nature.
I did some research for different recipes on the internet that appealed to me and had a go at making them. I did some tweaking here and there for what I saw as the version that I liked most. Coast Culinary Collective will post them in a couple of stages in the next week or two.
Mixed Greens Salad with “Spanish Roja” Black Garlic Vinaigrette
As inspired by Wild Greens & Sardines
- A mix of salad greens such as lettuce, arugula, sorrel, kale and spinach. You decide how large a salad you want.
- Green onions, chopped
- Mushrooms, sliced
- Carrots, grated
makes about 3/4 cup (enough for 2 large salads)
5 to 6 cloves black garlic
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 small shallot, roughly chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
pinch cayenne pepper
Place all the ingredients in a high speed blender and blend until very smooth. Refrigerate what you don’t use. Will keep for a few days only.
Wild Mushroom Soup with “Chesnok Red” Black Garlic
From the Coast Culinary Collective test kitchen
This is serious mushroom soup. While easy to make, the stronger flavours of the portobellos and premium addition of the morels make this special. If you want to raise it a notch, maybe for a dinner party, add Asiago croutons and/or truffle oil if you just happen to have some kicking around your pantry.
- 5 Portobello Mushrooms
- Dozen dried Morel Mushrooms
- 1 leek, finely chopped
- 3 tbsp butter
- 1.5 litres chicken stock
- 125ml of whipping cream
- 1 rounded tbsp flour
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
- Italian flat leaf parsley, finely chopped to sprinkle on at the end (optional)
- Asiago croutons *
- Truffle oil *
- Melt butter at low to medium heat in a sauce pan capable of holding 3 litres
- Add chopped leek and cook for 10 min until fully softened
- While leek is cooking, put morels into a bowl and re-hydrate with 1 ¼ cups boiling water. Do not throw out the water once the morels have plumped. You’ll be needing it later.
- Using a spoon, scrape out the gills from the portobellos and trim off the ends of their stocks. Roughly chop.
- With the leek now cooked, add the flour, bay leaf and thyme leaves, stirring to make sure the flour coats everything. Continue stirring the leeks around the pan for another 5 minutes making sure the flour is cooked. This is creating a roux to slightly thicken the finished soup.
- Turning the heat up, add 1/3 of the stock, stirring for a few minutes so as to incorporate the liquid and floured leeks gradually. Do the same steps again with the remaining stock and the reserved water from the morels.
- Add all the mushrooms and bring the soup to the boil. As soon it gets to that stage lower the that so it’s at a brisk simmer.
- Add the salt and pepper and cook for 15-20 minutes.
- Remove the soup from the heat and fish out the bay leaf.
- Allow to cool enough that you can puree the liquid in a blender.
- Return the soup to the pot and whisk in cream.
- Taste for seasoning and serve. Add the chopped parsley if inclined.
Black Garlic with Scallops (Roja or Chesnok Red would both be great)
As sourced from Black Garlic North America which demonstrates just how big “an under the radar deal” black garlic is. Go to their site for numerous recipe ideas and info. In the case of this recipe, larger scallops are the preference. I served these with a salad but Asian noodles or rice could work perfectly.
- 16 extra-large dry-packed scallops, patted very dry (about 1 ½ pounds)
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 Black Garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1-2 teaspoons finely minced jalapeño pepper
- ¼ cup white wine
- 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 3 tablespoons of butter
Heat a large frying pan with just 2 tablespoons of the butter over high heat. Season the scallops with salt and pepper, and when the butter is bubbling, gently lay the scallops in the pan, not touching. Sear the scallops and cook for 4 minutes, turning once. They should have a golden brown color on both sides. Transfer to a platter.
To the same hot pan on high heat, add the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter. Add the garlic slices and the jalapeno pepper and fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Pour in the white wine and the balsamic vinegar into the pan. Let simmer for 1 minute, season with salt and pepper and add the fresh parsley. Pour over scallops.