Chefs' Recipes

Brae's herb toasts with hand-dived scallops

Essentially a mini rolled croissant, topped with spring herbs and the freshest scallops you can find.

By Dan Hunter
  • 1 hr preparation
  • 1 hr 15 mins cooking (plus proving, resting)
  • Makes 16
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"This is essentially an escargot or rolled croissant," says Dan Hunter. At Brae they dry the roe from the scallops in a dehydrator to make a powder and rinse the scallops to clean them in a chilled dashi made from kombu and rainwater. Start this recipe a day ahead to begin the croissant dough.

Ingredients

  • 8 large hand-dived scallops, cleaned and thinly sliced into rounds
  • Sesame oil, to serve
  • Herbs and leaves, such as fennel tops, chives, chervil and tarragon, to serve
  • Olive oil, to serve
Croissant dough
  • 600 gm (4 cups) plain flour
  • 7 gm dried yeast (1 sachet)
  • 75 gm (⅓ cup) caster sugar
  • 430 gm cold buttter
  • 2-3 eggs, lightly beaten for eggwash
Lemon purée
  • 2 lemons, halved
  • 100 ml almond milk, plus 1 tbsp extra
Green nut butter
  • 3 cups (firmly packed) mixed leaves such as rocket, radish and nasturtium (see note)
  • 1½ cups (firmly packed) mixed soft herbs, such as dill, fennel and parsley
  • 50 gm macadamia nuts
  • 50 gm pine nuts
  • 35 gm pistachio nuts

Method

  • 1
    For croissant dough, combine 100gm flour with 100ml tepid (23°C) water and yeast. Cover, and stand at room temperature to activate the yeast (overnight). Pour 200ml water around flour mixture so that it can be easily removed from the bowl, then transfer (with water) to an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook. Add sugar, remaining flour and 2 tsp salt and knead on low to combine, then, with the motor running, gradually add 100gm diced butter, kneading until a smooth dough (15-20 minutes). Remove bowl from mixer, cover, and leave in a warm place until doubled in size (20 minutes).
  • 2
    Pound remaining butter with a rolling pin to soften, then place between two sheets of baking paper and roll out to a 20cm x 15cm rectangle. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll out to a rectangle a little bigger than the butter. Place butter in centre of dough and fold dough over butter to enclose, pinching together to seal. Flatten dough slightly with a rolling pin, then roll it out away from you to a 30cm x 18cm rectangle. Rotate dough 90 degrees so the long side is facing you, fold the right third over, then the left third over the top to enclose (business-letter style). Cover dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate to rest (30 minutes), then repeat rolling and folding process another four times, resting in between and making sure to keep dough and butter at a similar cool temperature. Refrigerate to rest (at least 30 minutes) before using.
  • 3
    Meanwhile, for lemon purée, juice lemons and reserve juice. Place halved lemons in a saucepan, cover with water and simmer over low heat until very tender and liquid has reduced (30-45 minutes). Transfer lemon to a blender with 100ml almond milk and 50ml lemon juice and blend on high, adding extra almond milk if needed, until smooth. Season to taste with add extra lemon juice and salt.
  • 4
    For nut butter, blanch leaves and herbs in batches until just tender (10-20 seconds). Refresh in iced water, drain, squeeze out excess water, and dry on paper towels. Process nuts, 1 tsp salt and 25ml water in a food processor to a paste, then add greens and process until smooth. Chill until needed.
  • 5
    Roll out half the croissant dough (reserve remainder for another use) to a 50cm x 20cm rectangle. Turn dough so the longest side is facing you, spread an even layer of nut butter along the middle third of the dough and pipe a thin line of lemon purée along the middle (reserve remainder). Roll dough away from you into a tight log, then place on an oven tray lined with baking paper. Cover, and freeze until firm (1 hour).
  • 6
    Preheat oven to 190°C (175°C fan-forced). Cut log into 1.5cm-wide discs, place on oven trays lined with baking paper, leaving space between each, brush with eggwash and stand at room temperature to prove until increased by 1½ times in size (1-1½ hours). Brush rounds with eggwash, bake until golden (20-30 minutes), then reduce heat to 150°C and bake until crisp (10-15 minutes). Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  • 7
    To serve, spread a little lemon purée across flat side of herb toasts. Season scallops with salt, dress with a little sesame oil and lay on top of purée. Top with a small handful of herbs, drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt flakes to taste.

Notes

At Brae they use a combination of herbs from the kitchen garden for their nut butter: parsley, nasturtium leaves, rocket, dill, fennel fronds and turnip and radish leaf. Use the best produce that you can find, depending on what's available at the markets.
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Wine suggestion: Byrne Wines Blanc de Noir from the Yarra Valley. Drink suggestion by Tim Brewer.