Asparagus and olive herb in sea butter

AT A GLANCE

  • Serves 4 people

  • 4 thick organic asparagus spears
  • 16 small sprigs olive herb (see note)
  •  
  • Sea butter
  • 100 gm sea lettuce (see note)
  • 50 gm unsalted butter, softened
01   For sea butter, wash sea lettuce in salted water to remove sand. Pat dry with absorbent paper and remove any hard stems. Dry in a dehydrator (4 hours); alternatively, dry in an oven at 65C for 3-4 hours. Cool completely, then grind to a fine powder in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle. Combine butter and 1 tsp sea lettuce powder in a bowl, mixing well until smooth. Cover and set aside in refrigerator. Makes 50 gm sea butter. You will have about 1¼ tbsp sea lettuce powder left over; it will keep in an airtight container for 2 weeks.
02   Peel the outermost fibres from each asparagus spear, leaving the green chlorophyll layer intact. Blanch asparagus in rapidly boiling lightly salted water (see note) until just cooked with a little crunch remaining (50 seconds-1 minute), then refresh in iced water. Drain, pat dry and trim woody ends. Cover and set aside in refrigerator.
03   Remove leaves from olive herb and wash in chilled water. Drain, pat dry and set aside in an airtight container.
04   Melt a little sea butter in a frying pan over medium heat (do not allow butter to brown). Add asparagus and gently turn to coat. Divide asparagus between serving plates and scatter with olive herb.

Note Olive herb plant, also known as holy flax, has the botanical name Santolina rosmarinifolia. It is available from select Bunnings stores and other nurseries. Fresh sea lettuce is harvested by abalone divers. You will need to order it at least a week in advance from a specialist seafood supplier. When blanching the asparagus, use a ratio of 2 tsp salt per litre of water.

Watch Dan Hunter from Melbourne's Brae restaurant make the asparagus and olive herb in sea butter recipe live from the Harvey Norman Gourmet Institute Event on June 10 at Domayne Chadstone in an exclusive video on the Harvey Norman website

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