How to: cook with wattleseed
Photo - Robin Powell
Wattleseed has a unique fragrance and flavour – mocha-chocolateyy, smoky and nutty all at once.
It’s said that there is a wattle in flower somewhere in Australia every day of the year. Not all of the seed of these 1000-odd species are edible, indeed some a slightly toxic, but there is evidence that aborigines ate the seeds from at least 120 of them.
Traditionally the seeds were dried, roasted then ground and used to make a flat seed cake. Wattleseed is now a growing commercial industry. It’s unique flavour is used in a range of sweet and savoury dishes. Best for eating are the seeds of Prickly wattle, Acacia victoriae, and Wirilda, Acacia retinodes. The seed is harvested and then roasted to develop the nutty and coffee-like elements. Mark Lucas, from Australian Native Bushfoods, grows prickly wattle on the banks of the Murray River outside Renmark, South Australia. While most wattleseed is sold as ground powder, Mark produces an essence that has a stronger flavour and does not require any soaking. It’s available at Herbie’s spices, www.herbies.com.au, where you can also get roasted whole or ground wattleseed.
Kingfish with wattleseed dressing
This is a version of a dish from Shannon Bennett’s ‘My French Vue: French Cooking at Home’. In a jar with a screwtop put mix two teaspoons of chardonnay vinegar, a tablespoon of oyster sauce, four tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper. Shake to combine, then pour over thinly sliced raw kingfish. Sprinkle with roasted ground wattleseed. This is also good served as more of a salad, with sliced radish, cubed watermelon and sliced spring onion.
Spiced oranges with wattleseed cream
Thinly slice oranges and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Leave to macerate. Whip pouring cream with sugar and wattleseed essence to taste. Serve slices oranges topped with roasted slivvered almonds and wattleseed cream.
In a food processor mix 100g plain flour, 50g ground hazelnuts, 70g brown sugar, 30g roasted, chopped hazelnuts and a tablespoon of roasted ground wattleseed. When combined, add 75gm cold chopped butter and pulse until the mixture looks like coarse breadcrumbs. Top cooked apple or quinces and bake in a moderate oven for 45 minutes until golden and bubbling.