Aleksis Kalnins knows his way around a salad. When the head chef at Scott Pickett’s South Yarra destination Matilda was asked by the boss to drum up a shareable seasonal salad, the result – a creamy whipped goat’s curd with garden peas and charred asparagus – was an instant hit.
“Scott asked me to put something really light, fresh and spring-y on the menu for the warm months,” says Kalnins. “People love it. Whenever I put it down, I often get a ‘wow’. It’s a showstopper at the moment.”
The creation hinges on goat’s cheese and greens. “Because the goat’s cheese is nice and sour, it’s very refreshing for a hot day outside,” says Kalnins. It also includes cream infused with garlic and thyme, which can be done in just 15 minutes, and the umami-rich seasoning shio koji, which you can find at most Asian grocers. When selecting your greens, be sure to track down seasonal garden peas and asparagus, with the latter preferably “fat and firm”. Kalnins also advises spending an extra few seconds to peel the asparagus. “It makes it much more vibrant when you grill it.”
The finished result makes a lovely companion to a pink sparkling wine like Brown Brothers’ carry-friendly 200ml bottles of Prosecco Rosé. “It’s definitely light, and the acidity works really well with the prosecco,” Kalnin says of the pairing. Blush in colour, prosecco rosé retains the freshness and vibrancy traditional prosecco is known for. With lively notes of strawberry and citrus, it’s made to drink now.
Pair it with Kalnin’s salad for a delightfully fresh and quick party pairing. Here’s how to make it at home.
Whipped goat’s curd with garden peas and charred asparagus
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Goat’s curd cream
600g goat’s curd
300g cream infused with garlic and thyme
200g whipped cream
3 sheets gelatine
Asparagus, peas & garnish
1 bunch seasonal asparagus, peeled
2 tbsp shio koji
1 lemon zest
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt and native mountain pepper (to taste)
200g garden peas, shelled
Lemon juice and olive oil to garnish
Crackers for serving (optional)
Warm goat’s curd to 65°C in one pot. Do the same for the infused cream in a second pot. (Use a thermometer or just guess at the temperature; it should be as hot as hot tap water.)
Combine the curd and cream and dissolve gelatine into the mixture. Cool down over ice. Re-whip the mixture. Fold in whipped cream and season.
Season the asparagus with extra virgin olive oil, lemon zest and shio koji. Grill until they develop a caramelised and charred flavour. Drain and season with salt and native mountain pepper. Blanch the peas for 30 seconds to 1 minute, then put into ice bath.
On the plate, spoon the whipped goat’s curd, arrange asparagus on top and finish with peas. Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice.
This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Brown Brothers. Brown Brothers are giving readers the change to win a share in $1 million worth of prizes. All you have to do is purchase a specially marked bottle from the Brown Brothers Prosecco range, keep your receipt and enter via the QR code on the bottle. Promotion ends Fri 31 December, 2021.