Asparagus, Olive Plant and Sea Butter

A recipe by Dan Hunter, taken from Brae - Recipes and stories from the restaurant
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For 4 people

Ingredients for the sea lettuce powder:

100g fresh sea lettuce

salt

Ingredients for the sea butter:

4g sea lettuce powder (see above)

100g unsalted butter

Ingredients for the asparagus:

4 spears of fat asparagus

salt

Ingredients for the olive plant (holly flax)

3–4 small olive plant leaves per piece of asparagus

Method:

For the sea lettuce powder

Wash the harvested sea lettuce in salted water, picking through it carefully to ensure all sand, shells and other debris are completely removed. It is important to wash the sea lettuce many times, and to give it a good soak in abundant water, as it holds a lot of grit.

Once the sea lettuce is completely free of any impurities, it is a good idea to taste it to check for salt content. If it is too salty, give it a quick soak in fresh water until the desired salt level is achieved.

To dry the sea lettuce, place it in a dehydrator and dry it at 55ºC (131ºF) for 6–12 hours. Process the dried sea lettuce in a food processor to a fine powder. It will hydrate readily, so this powder must be stored in an airtight container.

For the sea butter

Combine 4g of the sea lettuce powder with the butter, ensuring there are no lumps and that the mixture is homogenously blended. Reserve the butter, covered and refrigerated, until needed. Reserve the remaining sea lettuce powder in an airtight container for other preparations.

For the asparagus

With a sharp turning knife and starting at the tip of the asparagus, peel the first fibre off each piece. It is important to peel in one motion from top to bottom, ensuring you do not peel too deeply or scratch the stems, leaving the chlorophyll intact.

For the olive plant

Remove the olive plant leaves from the plant. Wash them in chilled water and pat dry on absorbent paper. Store in an airtight container until needed.

To serve

Warm the sea butter in a saucepan, allowing it to melt but not brown.

Blanch the asparagus in boiling water with a ratio of 10g salt per litre of water. The asparagus should be just cooked with a little crunch.

Add the asparagus spears to the butter and gently coat them. Remove the spears and transfer to a serving plate. Cover each spear with olive leaves.


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• For a restaurant under two years old, Brae is receiving amazing international critical acclaim. Hunter has featured in articles in Eater, Fine Dining Lovers, Bon Appetit, Grub Street, New Yorker a well as all the Australian food press.

• "One of the great meals in the world" and "It is so good it is almost depressing" –Anthony Bourdain reviewing Dan Hunter at previous Australian restaurant The Royal Mail.