Chef Ben Shewry, of famed Melbourne restaurant Attica, lives close to the sea where there is an abundance of edible wild plants and vegetables. Ben harvests the wild plants by hand every day for the menu at Attica. Many of his Attica dishes utilise foraged ingredients. In order to showcase the uniqueness of these ingredients best, he prefers to keep them raw and in their natural state.
"What a cool dish! I feel it's cheating slightly not to have foraged in the wild for the accompanying wine after so much work has been done by the chef on the beach. To match the briny oyster, the pickled lemon and the beach succulents, we want a lighter bodied white with citrus as a backbone and a pure acid line down the middle. This will act like a squeeze of lemon on this dish and will only heighten the overall experience. Vermentino is also a white grape we've visited in the series before and it calls to mind beaches, if only for sitting next to while dining, rather than foraging on. This small batch version from Oliver’s Taranga ticks all of the boxes." - Dan Coward
Pickled lemon peel
- 1 lemon
- 12 g table salt
- 20 g caster (superfine) sugar
- 150 g wild sea succulent, washed, picked
- 5 ml lemon juice
- pinch of caster (superfine) sugar
- 8 live oysters, unshucked
- 8 leaves hairy weed
- 8 leaves dune spinach
- 8 leaves beach mustard
- 8 leaves sea parsley
- 8 leaves sea lettuce
- 8 flowers dune spinach
- 8 salt berries
- 8 slithers pickled lemon peel
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.
Drink Oliver’s Taranga Vermentino 2012, McLaren Vale, SA
To make the pickled lemon peel, using a very sharp slicing knife, cut a thin layer of peel from the lemon (reserve the lemon for another use). Cut this into very thin strips and lay on a small stainless steel tray. Sprinkle over the salt, followed by the sugar. Leave to cure for 30 minutes. Wash the peel in cold water and pat dry with paper towel.
The succulent juice should be made to order. Using a twin-gear juicer (wheatgrass style), juice the sea succulent and pass the juice through a sieve lined with muslin (cheesecloth). Add the lemon juice and pinch of sugar, to balance out the saltiness.
Shuck the oysters and gently cut the muscle to release the oyster.
To serve, arrange the succulent flowers, leaves and sea vegetables on top of the oysters. Place a piece of pickled lemon peel on each oyster. Pour over the succulent juice.
• All of the succulents and sea vegetables should be wild, as cultivated varieties lack any real flavour and texture, and should be picked on the day you serve them.