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Aløft

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Brae

Prepare to enter a picture of the countryside framed by note-perfect Australiana but painted in bold, elegant and unsentimental strokes. Over 10 or more courses, Dan Hunter celebrates his region with dishes that are formally daring (Crunchy prawn heads! Creamy oyster soft-serve! Sea urchin and chicory bread pudding!), yet rich in flavour and substance. The menu could benefit from an edit, but the plates are tightly composed - and what could you cut? Certainly not the limpid broth bathing fronds of abalone and calamari, nor the clever arrangement of lobster played off against charred waxy fingerlings under a swatch of milk skin. The adventure is significantly the richer for the cool gloss of the dining room, some of the most engaging service in the nation and wine pairings that roam with an easy-going confidence. Maturing and relaxing without surrendering a drop of its ambition, Brae is more compelling than ever.

Sfincione


You'll need

10 gm dried yeast 1 tsp caster sugar 130 ml extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling 420 gm "00" flour onions, thinly sliced 1 garlic clove, finely chopped 150 gm canned cherry tomatoes 2 large ripe Roma tomatoes, coarsely chopped 2 anchovy fillets, finely chopped 40 gm coarse fresh sourdough breadcrumbs 1 tbsp coarsely chopped oregano, plus extra to serve 90 gm each casiocavallo and provolone dolce, diced (see note)

Method

  • 01
  • Combine yeast, sugar, 1 tsp sea salt and 250ml lukewarm water in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook and mix to combine. Add 30ml oil and half the flour, mix until smooth, cover and stand in a warm place until bubbling (8-10 minutes). Add remaining flour, knead until smooth and elastic (4-5 minutes), adding a little extra water if necessary to form a soft dough, transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, turn to coat, cut a cross in the top, cover and stand until doubled in size (25-30 minutes). Knock down dough, then refrigerate for 2 hours.
  • 02
  • Meanwhile, heat 60ml oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat, add onion, stir occasionally until golden (8-10 minutes), add garlic and cook until fragrant (1 minute). Transfer three-quarters of the onion mixture to a bowl and set aside. Add canned and fresh tomato to remaining onion mixture, stir occasionally until pulpy (8-10 minutes), season to taste and set aside.
  • 03
  • Meanwhile, combine anchovy and remaining 40ml oil in a small bowl. Combine breadcrumbs and oregano in a separate small bowl. Set both mixtures aside.
  • 04
  • Preheat oven to 200C. Roll out dough to a 35cm x 25cm rectangle, place on an oiled baking tray, stand in a warm place until dough rises slightly (15-20 minutes), then brush all over with anchovy mixture. Spread with half the tomato mixture, scatter with onion mixture and bake for 15 minutes.
  • 05
  • Remove sfincione from oven, spread with remaining tomato mixture, then scatter with breadcrumb mixture and cheeses. Drizzle with a little oil, bake until golden and bubbling (15-20 minutes), scatter with extra oregano and serve hot.
Note Casiocavallo and provolone dolce are available from specialist cheese shops.

This recipe is from the April 2012 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.

The island of Sicily is Italy's largest region, and its tomato-rich cuisine contributed much to the international image of Italian cooking. Sfincione, whose name means "sponge", is often described as Sicilian pizza, although it's more like a focaccia. It's a specialty of Palermo and is often served as a street snack in the Sicilian capital's lively open-air markets.

At A Glance

  • Serves 8 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 8 people

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