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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.

Prawn and white bean salad with tomato dressing


You'll need

300 gm dried white beans, soaked overnight in cold water, drained 250 ml dry white wine 12 medium uncooked prawns, peeled, tails intact, cleaned 3 thyme sprigs Thinly peeled rind of ½ lemon, juice of 1½ lemons 2 baby fennel bulbs, trimmed, fronds and trimmings reserved ½ small Spanish onion, finely chopped 1 cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley 2½ tbsp extra-virgin olive oil 300 gm mixed cherry tomatoes, halved, larger ones quartered 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

Method

  • 01
  • Combine beans and a generous amount of unsalted cold water in a large saucepan, bring to the boil over medium-high heat and simmer until tender (30-40 minutes). Drain and refresh under cold running water, then drain well and transfer to a large bowl.
  • 02
  • Meanwhile, combine wine, prawns, thyme, lemon rind, fennel trimmings, 1 tsp sea salt and 250ml water in a small saucepan, season to taste, bring to the simmer over medium-high heat, then remove from heat and stand for 15 minutes. Remove prawns (discard poaching mixture) and add to beans.
  • 03
  • Shave fennel bulbs on a mandolin and stand in a bowl of iced acidulated water until crisp (5 minutes), drain, then add to prawn mixture. Add onion, parsley and fennel fronds, season to taste and set aside.
  • 04
  • Heat oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat, add tomato and garlic and cook until tomato just begins to soften (2-3 minutes). Remove from heat, stir in lemon juice, season to taste and pour into bean mixture. Toss to combine and serve.
This recipe is from the March 2013 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.

At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people

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