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24 September 2014

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You are in: Guernsey > Places > Local Recipes > The great Guernsey dish

An ormer being cleaned

An ormer being cleaned

The great Guernsey dish

The Guernseyman has been eating ormers for as long as anyone can remember. But what makes this rather ugly, single-shelled mollusc so appealing?

The ormer is a recluse in the world of seafood and is known in many others part of the world as the abalone.

It can only be found under rocks at the lowest tidal point.

There are strict rules governing when, where and how you can collect the delicacy.

Despite all the restrictions, the ormer remains a much sought-after local gastronomic treat.

The traditional way to cook them is in a casserole, but we've also given you a recipe for ormers in a type of white wine sauce.

The Guernsey ormer casserole recipe has been around since at least 1673.

Ormer casserole

As many ormers as possible
a strip or two of belly pork
2-3 carrots
2-3 shallots
Guernsey butter

  1. Soak ormers in cold fresh water for 30 minutes.
  2. Shell the ormers.
  3. Scrub off the black parts.
  4. Beat the centre of the ormer with a mallet.
  5. Flour the ormers and brown in a frying pan with the Guernsey butter and a little oil.
  6. Place the ormers in a casserole dish with the cubes of belly pork, sliced carrots, bay leaf and season with salt and pepper.
  7. Place in pre-heated oven at 160/170 °c for two hours.
  8. Turn down the oven and allow the casserole to simmer until cooked.

An alternative ormer recipe

2oz unsalted butter
1 finely chopped onion
4oz chopped streaky bacon
1 clove of garlic
A bouquet garni
12 small ormers, well beaten
½ pint dry white wine
salt and pepper
chopped parsley
Beurre Mariè (1oz butter mixed with 1oz flour)

  1. Melt the butter in a frying pan and fry the onion and bacon.
  2. Add the garlic and ormers and fry for about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the wine, seasoning and bouquet garni
  4. Cover the pan and simmer for a further 10 minutes.
  5. Place the ormers on a warm serving dish.
  6. Stir the beurre mariè into liquid in the frying pan to thicken it.
  7. Pour the thickened sauce over the ormers and sprinkle with the chopped parsley.

Serves two.

Pickled Ormers

Here is a far more unusual recipe for ormers. What the finished version tastes like, who knows, but it could be interesting!

The recipe is rather vague, but trial and error could well be the key.

Make up a pan of half vinegar and half water, with salt, bay leaves and peppercorns. Add a quantity of cleaned ormers and simmer for four hours. Bottle the mixture and ormers in sterilised jars.

last updated: 28/04/2008 at 13:59
created: 22/07/2004

You are in: Guernsey > Places > Local Recipes > The great Guernsey dish

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