• Flathead with emu egg Thermidor sauce (Ben Ward)Source: Ben Ward

A 1980s classic is given a modern Australian twist, with a Thermidor sauce using emu egg and milk kefir; crisp black kale adds an aromatic edge to complete the dish.






Skill level

Average: 3.5 (2 votes)


  • 1 bunch of jagallo nero (see Note)
  • drizzle of garum, or good quality fish sauce
  • 6 flathead fillets, skinned and pin-boned
  • olive oil, for drizzling
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • drizzle of mild vinegar
  • 1 piece of fresh horseradish, peeled

Emu egg Thermidor sauce

  • 100 g unsalted cultured butter
  • 150 g Dijon mustard
  • 40 g lemon juice
  • ½ emu egg yolk
  • 300 g milk kefir, hung overnight in muslin cloth to drain


Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


1. Wash and pick the jagallo nero into smaller pieces and toss half the leaves liberally with garum. Reserve the rest for later on. Place the dressed leaves in a single layer in a dehydrator or you could also use a low oven with the door ajar. Dry until crisp.

2. Remove the fish from the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking to allow it to come to room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 180°C.

3. For the emu egg Thermidor sauce, place the butter and half the mustard in a small heavy-based saucepan over medium heat. Stir together until it starts to foam and the mustard begins to separate. Continue to cook until both the butter and the mustard are a rich brown colour. Immediately transfer to a metal bowl. Add the remaining mustard and lemon juice and combine well. Add the emu egg and combine well, then stir in the thick kefir and set aside.

4. Place the fish on an oven tray, drizzle with oil and season lightly with good quality sea salt. Bake for around 3 minutes. The fish shouldn't be cooked all the way through at this stage. Transfer to a piece of paper towel to remove the excess oil.

5. Lay the fillets on warm serving plates and spoon over enough Thermidor sauce to cover the fish quite generously. Use a kitchen blow torch to brown the top of the sauce.

6. Take some of the washed jagallo nero and season with a little oil and a dash of mild vinegar. Arrange over the fish alternating with a little of the dried jagallo nero. Finely grate over some fresh horseradish to finish and serve immediately.



•Jagallo nero is a type of kale with thin, wispy leaves. Substituted with thinly-sliced cavolo nero (Tuscan kale) leaves. 


Palisa Anderson and guests explore food memories and cross-cultural connection during Palisa Anderson's Water Heart Food.