Toheroa was so popular during the first half of the 20th century that three Northland canning factories were processing it into soup. This is one of their labels, proclaiming the ‘rare delicacy and excellence’ of the contents. It has been illegal to harvest toheroa since 1993, so present-day gourmands have to make do with tuatua or pipi soup.
This recipe has been adapted from Sue Miles’s A taste of the sea: the cookery of New Zealand seafood.
Tuatua or pipi soup (serves 4)
4 dozen minced tuatua or pipi
1 tablespoon butter
1 finely chopped onion
1 finely chopped clove of garlic
2 teaspoons chopped parsley
1 tablespoon flour
500 ml milk
2 teaspoons lemon juice
salt and pepper
Melt butter in a pot and fry onion gently until soft.
Add garlic and parsley and stir for one minute.
Stir in flour and remove from heat.
Add milk and stir to remove lumps.
Return to heat and continue stirring as milk thickens.
Add tuatua, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
Reheat just to boiling point. Remove from heat.
Serve garnished with cream and chives.
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