"This dish is inspired by traditional dishes of northern Italy where game meat like venison is paired with fruit, and sweet and sour flavours," says Jason Saxby. "I like to think that if the first person who created that combination of wild game with fruit was in Australia at the time, the dish would taste like this." At Osteria di Russo & Russo, Saxby sprinkles the dish with dehydrated beetroot powder made from the beetroot trimmings to minimise waste.
- 250 gm kangaroo fillet (see note), trimmed of sinew and patted dry with paper towels
- 8 quandongs, halved (and defrosted if frozen; see note)
- 5 radicchio leaves, cut into 4cm rounds with a biscuit cutter
- To serve: extra-virgin olive oil, finely grated horseradish and purple basil leaves
- 200 gm Murray River pink salt flakes, plus extra, to serve
- 100 ml olive oil
- 1 tbsp each coarsely chopped thyme and rosemary
- 1 large beetroot (about 300gm), scrubbed and trimmed without exposing flesh
- 350 gm (about 3) small beetroot, trimmed, peeled and quartered
- 125 gm native currants (see note)
- 125 ml (½ cup) merlot vinegar or other aged sweet red wine vinegar
- 60 gm caster sugar
- 100 gm Illawarra plums, coarsely chopped (see note)
- 25 ml merlot vinegar or other aged sweet red wine vinegar, plus extra to season
- 25 gm caster sugar
- 20 gm cultured butter (such as Pepe Saya), diced
- 1Roll kangaroo fillet tightly in plastic wrap to form a tight log, seal ends as tightly as you can, and freeze (at least 2 hours). Unwrap and slice meat very thinly, then place in a single layer on a piece of baking paper, cover and refrigerate.
- 2For salt-baked beetroot, preheat oven to 160C. Combine salt, oil, herbs, 1 tsp coarsely ground black pepper and 60ml water in a bowl. Spread over a piece of foil large enough to enclose beetroot, wrap beetroot and bake directly on an oven rack until beetroot is tender when pierced with a metal skewer (1¼-1½ hours). Cool in foil (1½ hours), then unwrap, discard salt crust and wash and peel beetroot, then cut into 2.5cm-thick slices. Cut as many rounds out of each slice as possible with a 4cm round cutter, then slice crossways into thin rounds. Reserve trimmings and refrigerate rounds until required.
- 3For native currant and beetroot agrodolce, juice beetroot in an electric juicer, place 125ml in a saucepan with currants, vinegar and sugar, bring to the boil, then set aside to infuse for 30 minutes. Strain through a fine strainer, pressing currants with the back of a ladle to extract as much juice as possible. Reserve 100ml liquid, return remaining liquid to a small saucepan, bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and reduce to a sticky syrup (8-10 minutes). Set aside at room temperature.
- 4Bring reserved agrodolce liquid to a simmer in a separate small saucepan, add quandong and set aside to cool.
- 5For Illawara plum purée, coarsely chop 100gm reserve beetroot trimmings (discard remaining), then combine with plums, vinegar, sugar and just enough water to cover in a small saucepan. Place a round of baking paper directly on top, then simmer over medium heat until water has almost evaporated, and plums and beetroot are tender (6-8 minutes). Cool briefly, then process in a small blender, adding butter gradually, until smooth. Season to taste with vinegar and sea salt.
- 6To serve, drizzle kangaroo with olive oil and season to taste, then arrange on serving plates, alternating kangaroo, beetroot and radicchio in a circle, spoon on quandongs, dot with plum purée, scatter with horseradish and purple basil leaves, then drizzle with agrodolce dressing and olive oil to taste.
Note Kangaroo is available from Harris Farm Markets and select butchers and supermarkets. For quandongs, native currants and Illawara plums head to outbackpridefresh.com.au to find your local distributor.
Drink Suggestion: “Vie di Romans ‘Dessimis’ Pinot Grigio, of which we have the 2013 vintage,” says co-owner Marc Russo. “Drastically different from the expected pinot grigio style, this is an ancient style of pinot grigio with a slight blush, a rich, oily texture and a complex yet clean palate. Vie di Romans, a producer from Friuli, is famed for its textured, complex and often highly aromatic white wines.”