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Balmain bug with asparagus and basil

Australian Gourmet Traveller salad recipe for Balmain bug with asparagus and basil

By Lisa Featherby
  • 10 mins preparation
  • 25 mins cooking
  • Serves 2
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Balmain bug with asparagus and basil
For a lavish fast and fabulous dinner, we’ve used sweet, delicate bug meat. The accompanying sauce is inspired by a dish served at Melbourne’s <a href="/movida.htm">MoVida</a>.


  • 4 thin slices of sourdough bread
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra to serve
  • 1 clove of garlic, halved
  • 1 bunch of asparagus, halved widthways
  • 6 cooked Balmain bug tails, peeled
  • ½ cup (loosely packed) basil leaves
Red sauce
  • 2 red capsicums
  • 180 ml extra-virgin olive oil (¾ cup)
  • 65 gm sourdough bread, crusts removed (about 1½ slices)
  • 3 tsp sherry vinegar
  • 1 small clove of garlic, finely chopped


  • 1
    For red sauce, preheat oven to 220C. Drizzle capsicums with 1 tsp oil in a roasting pan, turn to coat and season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Roast for 15-20 minutes, turning occasionally, or until skins are deep golden, then place in a heatproof bowl, cover with plastic wrap and stand for 5 minutes or until skins can easily be peeled. Peel, discarding skin, then halve and discard seeds. Transfer to a blender, add bread, vinegar and garlic and process to combine. With motor running, add remaining oil, a drop at a time, then in a thin steady stream until incorporated. Season to taste and set aside.
  • 2
    Preheat a chargrill pan over high heat. Brush bread with olive oil and grill for 1 minute on each side or until deep golden, then rub with cut side of garlic (discard garlic).
  • 3
    Meanwhile, blanch asparagus in a saucepan of boiling salted water for 2-3 minutes or until just cooked, then drain.
  • 4
    Spoon red sauce onto plates, arrange grilled bread, asparagus and Balmain bug tails on top, scatter with basil, drizzle with olive oil and serve immediately.


Drink Suggestion: Marlborough sauvignon blanc. Drink suggestion by Max Allen

  • Author: Lisa Featherby