Marron pasta ala Matty

Mazzalenko (by Matty)

A young mans quest for brilliance I love seafood, it’s kinda like the best stuff ever. Do love a good steak too, Mums lamb roast. Ahhhh… Nana’s potato salad. Ooh… pork belly, my brother steals the show with pork belly, he’s a chef. Getting off track here. My favourite seafood is crumbed squid rings fresh out of the ocean. The rings themselves don’t come out of the ocean, the squid does. And he won’t just jump into your bucket you’ve got to… I’m not dealing with 3 year olds am I? Am I? Ok, when you’re living off the land, or the ocean, river, neighbours fish pond, whatever, you’ve got to make the most of what’s available. As it turns out I’m surrounded by little slices of heaven in the shape of say… like… prawns. Prawns that have been hangin’ out with Arnie, on the roids, took the wrong turn home, ended up passing out in a tanning salon far, far from the ocean……… there I go again. “MARRON”! They’re everywhere. Most would-be punters have a window once a year for a week or 2 during the heavily policed marron season. But with all these dams everywhere I got ’em on tap all year round. You have to get permission from the owners otherwise that’s stealing. There’s many ways to catch fresh water “Arnie prawns” • Snaring, which is wrapping thin electrical wire (piano wire maybe) around their necks, it’s ok, it’s legal. • Scooping, with a “scoop” of some kind, self explanatory. • Drop nets. • Traps and my personal favourite… • The Drag Net, like a big sock, really big, dragged through the shallows by 2 men (women on drag nets are rare but ultra sexy). • Dynamite, crocodile Dundee swares by it. I’m pretty sure you should avoid this method altogether, unless properly supervised by Mick Dundee himself. Personally I’ve never blown little “Arnies” out of the drink. I’ve blown stuff up, been on fire many times, not a good look. For safety reasons I prefer veering away from fire. All other methods produce, in large numbers if the Austrians are there. Dragging certainly produces the best. But only take what you need. I’ve got a lot of mouths to feed and have filled a bathtub once or twice, 3 times (shut the bathroom door over night), laundry sinks, eskies, scaling down to the inevidable 0. One of my most memorable experiences was out of my durestinction. Mick “the fish” took me out in Albany with I think Airsey, the Willow boys and possibly Tinny. It was dark, somewhere between 8pm and 5am. After driving for what seemed like eternity, we rocked up at this magic looking waterhole, with permission of course. Drag net ready the lads started playing scissors, paper, rock for who gets in the drink. Rather enebriated, I put my hand up with a smile. Off with every inch of fabric I entered the water, let me tell you right now, it was colder than anything I ever imagined. The Titanic had it better than me. I was basically a ballerina in the middle of the dam, as the other fellas took turns to walk around on dry land. I became dizzy and disappeared under the surface. 5 strapping young David Hasselhoffs at the ready you’d think I was swam back to shore, resuscitated and fingers crossed given some drugs. Nope, I surfaced to 5 Keith Richards’s, off their faces! I had to get to dry land. Unable to work any of my blue limbs I relied soley on the propulsion supplied by the carbonated drinks I so adore. Once at shore the priority was to check the net, even my tears were frozen, alas our hard work paid off. An old car tyre, 4 cans full of dam water and a large stick! For some reason the lads started quarrelling and throwing shit at each other, fists included. Twas then I looked down and saw a feast of marron hanging of my toes. Completely frozen I couldn’t talk. Mick “the fish” happened to catch a glimpse of my eyeballs frantically moving up and down. He released the Willow boys from a devastating headlock and came to my aid. (‘bout F…KING time) Marron secured, Mick arose to his feet only to burst into an uncontrollable fit of laughter. I wasn’t in a humorous mood. The other 4 stopped fighting and became rather interested in what Mick had seen. Now there was a small choir in front of me singing the “uncontrollable laughter” song. As it turns out there was a small long neck turtle hanging off of ……… me. All I could do was sound the words “get it off”. Yeah real funny. This experience was memorable but in no way pleasant. RIGHTO!! How to cook and eat. ‘It’s quite hard to procure the ever elusive marron if you live on the east coast of Australia (most are sold to the damn restaurants), so, to demonstrate this cracker of a dish, Matty chose king prawns and scallops, which were bloody good. And also account for the photo of this dish containing king prawns and scallops’ G

“Mazza” in crème sauce with semi-dried tomatoes and char grilled capsicum (dedicated to Jim and the fun times we used to have. He’s not dead, just married.) Half a dozen marron, big ones 200g packet of fettucine A big ass red onion Lots of garlic A cask of white wine 500ml thickened cream A jar of semi sun dried tomatoes 2 red capsicums Zest of a lemon, finely grated A bunch of basil Handfuls of baby spinach Pine nuts, toasted Finely grated pecorino, basil leaves and lemon wedges to serve

First, char grill the capsicum by plonking them on the stove, right on the burner, really burn’em all over. My brother showed me this and I spun out, kept asking questions, voicing my concern… I annoy him better than his kids. When black and crusty looking all over remove to a bowl, cover with cling wrap and allow to sweat for a while (have a beer, get stuck into the “goon”). The charred skin should rub of easily now, a few black bits ok, remove stem, pith and seeds, cut into strips and place in a bowl with sundried tomatoes, mix’em round, walk away. Put a large pot of salted water on high heat and bring to the boil. Put 2 or 3 marron in and pop the lid back on for 30 sec to a minute. This will seal and par cook the marron making them easy to shell. Remove to an ice bath and cook the rest. Once cool enough to handle remove head, shell and “poo tube” (dam water is generally muddy so this has to be done) and cut into chunks. Cook pasta al dente according to packet directions, strain and put aside. Get a big pan hot, add a splash of oil and some butter and quickly fry the marron chunks just for a bit of colour, remove and put aside. Finely dice onion, add to pan with a bit more oil if needed followed by 4-5 finely chopped or crushed garlic cloves. Give that a stir then in with a heap of wine, at least half a litre. A bottle of wine will do it, throw a bit down the gullet aswell. The reason I bought a cask is I can stare at those things for hours, memories, sweet memories. Boil for a bit to get rid of the booze, (now it’s kid friendly) add the cream and turn the heat to medium. After the sauce has thickened slightly go to town with (fold in) the rest of the ingredients. Add more cream if necessary and plate that shit up. Garnish with basil leaves, pecorino and lemon wedges. Serve and enjoy. (do remember to chew your food properly)

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