Pearl meat is the exquisitely flavoured muscle of the pearl shell - the same species that produce pearls. This iconic Darwin recipe created by chef Jimmy Shu sources pearl meat from the Paspaley Pearling Company. If you can’t find pearl meat at your local fish market, use the freshest scallops you can find.
- 220 g fresh pearl meat (about 10)
- beetroot micro greens, to serve
- 8 g lemongrass, pale part only, finely chopped
- 2 g peeled ginger
- 10 g peeled garlic
- ½ bird’s eye chilli, chopped
- 6 g coriander roots, scrubbed
- 25 g white sugar
- 125 ml (½ cup) strained lemon juice
- 2 tsp fish sauce
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
1. Thinly slice the pearl meat lengthways into 2 mm-thick slices. Pat dry.
2. For the lemongrass dressing, place all the ingredients in a small blender and process until smooth. Transfer to a shallow bowl. Add the pearl meat, toss to coat and marinate for 2-3 minutes or until the flesh begins to turn opaque. Pour the pearl meat into a sieve placed over a bowl and reserve the marinade.
3. To assemble, place 3 pieces of marinated pearl meat, end-to-end, to create a line on a plate, with the ends slightly overlapping. Using tweezers, gently roll the line of slices into a tight roll. When placed upright, the end of the roll should resemble the top of a rosebud. Place each roll onto a serving plate and fan out the top to open it into a rose shape.
4. Pour a little reserved marinade over the pearl meat petals and garnish with beetroot micro greens. Serve immediately.
Explore a Taste of the Territory with Jimmy Shu on SBS Food and On Demand.