I’ve been quite fortunate to grow up near some of the best beaches in the world. Heading down to the sand as a kid and digging in my feet in the hope to find pipis is a past time that conjures up some really great memories. It’s not something that I’ve really had a chance to do as much of over the last decade. But since a recent holiday to Byron Bay uncovered, I’d realised I hadn’t properly passed on this beautiful seashore foraging skill to my daughter.
I remember early on in my childhood being at Port Stephens with friends and family, making sandcastles, getting in the water for hours or having a dig with my brothers when we had the chance. Our incentive in finding pipis meant that were we successful in striking a payload we knew we were made me proud.
It was a blast getting her out there to find a few handfuls. We collected enough for a feed, and I gotta say, they were pretty fuckin delish-usss! So, with our 30-40 pipi haul, we made our way home to start prepping the little buggers. First things first though: You need to purge them of all the shit and grit inside them.
NB: For the following recipe, put aside a 2/3 Cup of the seawater to cook the Pipis in
PURGING the PIPI’S
Unless you’re Bear Grylls and enjoy eating shit sand, mud, and roadkill, you need to purge (cleanse) the pipis of all the crap inside them. It’s like giving them gastro, without it being contagious to you. I probably should have just said ‘detox them’.
- Make sure the container you are transporting home the pipi’s in, is big enough to hold twice as much seawater to pipis
- quickly clean pipi’s under cold tap water, cleaning any noticeable crap off if necessary
- sieve the saltwater to eliminate any grit and shit
- Place the pipi’s back into the saltwater and leave overnight
- the best place to get the saltwater is right near where you found your pipis
Pipis In Ocean Stock
This is a simple dish that takes advantage of using the ocean water the lived in
2/3 Cup of the seawater filtered through a napkin
Dash of white wine vinegar
1 tsp sugar (optional)
1. In a small to medium pot, bring the seawater to the boil
2. Gently place the pipis into the water and cook them for a few minutes,
3. Take out each pipi when their shells open and set them aside. When all pipis are out of pot turn heat
to medium-low and reduce liquid by half
4. You can choose to stop right here and devour the pipis as is on toast…no? ok continue
5. Start off by adding 60g of the butter, 1/2 tsp of the pepper, the dash of vinegar and lemon juice. Make sure
you taste your lemon first to judge its flavour. It may be too sour or bitter, so taste and go easy
6. Have a taste, liquid should be lightly lemony with a hint of vinegar. Should still be able to have the body
of the ocean in the flavour. A little tangy
7. Add sugar if desired
8. Place pipis back in warm broth and gently stir
9. Gently plate up and pour liquor over pipis and finely chopped tarragon
10. Serve with a wedge of lemon and warm crusty bread