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Meritales

Off The Cuff:
A Long Lunch With
Big Sam Young

December 18, 2019

Lotus head chef Sam Young is getting ready for the party season. Here’s a look at how the chef known as Big Sam Young goes BIG, when hosting a lazy, Sunday lunch.

A WARM WELCOME

“I usually start any kind of long lunch with a few dozen oysters. I truly believe Sydney Rocks are the best oysters in the world. I shuck them as soon as my guests arrive, and serve them natural, with nothing more than lemon and a bottle of Jacques Selosse champagne to go with it.

SET THE TONE

A seafood crudo platter with uni (sea urchin), Japanese bluefin tuna toro (tuna belly), sea scallop, scampi and swordfish belly is a standout. If there are scarlet prawns around, they’ll definitely be on there, too. I like to serve my crudo platter with a Thai-style nam jim or Vietnamese Nước chấm dressing. The best part? You can make it in advance. I’d also hand-pick a mud crab the day before, and serve it with toast and mayo. And if you really want to impress your guests, add some caviar and a nice white burgundy.

THEN AMP IT UP

When I’m hosting, I don’t want to spend too much time cooking. I want to enjoy more time (and drinks!) with my guests. A platter of terrine, galantines and ballotines, pâté, salami and Parma ham from Romeo’s Fine Food  is great for this: you can pick up a selection at Harris Farm or Carriageworks Farmers Market. Again, the platter can be done before your guests arrive. But slice the Iggy’s sourdough fresh. There’s nothing better.

THROW IN A LITTLE DRAMA

The next course is pasta, of course. I use black truffle in the winter, or white truffle in our Australian summer. Melt butter in a pan with a bit of pasta water, salt and truffle trimmings, splash in a little stock, and stir until creamy and emulsified. In the meantime, cook the pasta. Just before it’s ready, add the pasta to the pan to cook it a bit longer in the sauce, adding butter or more pasta water depending on how it’s looking. Off the stove, mantecare with a bit of parmesan. My secret is I put a little bit of white soy in it at the end to season it. Then plate and shave extra truffle on top. It’s an instant crowd fave.

OR A LOT OF DRAMA

After that, it’s time for a whole fish (I prefer round fish such as flounder or turbot) cooked on the grill and then sauced with anchovy butter, lots of capers, lemon juice and roast garlic. A big fat rib-eye, cooked on the barbecue, also works: serve it with a simple butter lettuce salad with lemon juice and olive oil, or in the summer, a ripe tomato salad with heaps of basil.

AND THEN KICK BACK

We’re full by now, obviously, but you can’t skip the cheese course. My go-to cheese plate always has Saint Agur blue, Will Studd Brillat Savarin, some Époisses de Bourgogne, and a Holy Goat from Victoria with some grapes and Tasmanian leatherwood honey. If you really need something sweet, I would just buy a big strawberry mascarpone cake from Lorraine’s Patisserie. By this time I’m usually very tipsy. And how good is cake?

Words by Maggie Scardifield

Illustrations by Rosa Morgan