A chef is only as good as her ingredients, and at Minaret Station, that means the chef can be very good: fresh-caught seafood comes in by helicopter nearly everyday, the farm churns out some of the finest NZ venison in the country, there’s ample vegetation around Wanaka and the region is renowned for its biodynamic wines. So, in many ways, the chef can simply get out of the way, and let the food speak for itself.
Chef Paulina Corvalan does that; she serves fresh-caught paua raw, with a small side of fresh wasabi. But, she also does what good chefs do with good ingredients: she elevates them from what they are into something more. With a few simple additions, Corvalan created a simple stir fry that played the mild sea flavor against a mix of light Asian flavors. The shellfish doesn’t need much, if anything, to be memorable, and this restrained stir fry gives just a hint of spice to compliment the buttery, sweet abalone.
Asian-Style Stir Fry Paua
Ingredients: Serves 6–8
2 medium paua (abalone), cleaned and scrubbed
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ginger, minced
1 red chile, minced
1 tablespoon oyster sauce (or to taste)
2 green onions, sliced
1 small handful of cilantro
1 small handful fried shallots
2 tablespoons of mixture of water and corn flour
1. Clean and scrub paua of dirt. 2. Beat whole paua, to tenderize. 3. Heat sesame oil in wok. 4. Add paua. 5. Add minced garlic, ginger, red chiles. 6. Add oyster sauce. 7. Add small amount of corn flour-and-water mixture (to thicken sauce). 8. Add green onions, cilantro, fried shallots. 9. Sautee all very briefly, about one minute total. 10. Garnish with sliced green onions.