September 2008

The molluscs to watch out for now are Spring Bay black mussels from Tasmania. The bay, with its fast, nutrient-rich currents, provides a great environment for these dark, lustrous beauties. Each mussel pumps around 30 litres of water through its system every 24 hours, growing big, fat and resistant to shrivelling when cooked. Bilson's chef Manu Feildel cooks them with blue-eye trevalla and vongole in a cryovac bag in a technique known as "souvide". Going low and slow, he does them at 50°C for 15 minutes, which keeps them delectably tender. Then with the juices and cream, he makes a mariniere sauce, foams it and serves it with steamed, new-season asparagus.

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