Raw Chestnuts, Salt-Baked Celeriac, Pyengana

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in


By Ben Shewry

Published 2012

  • About

The Healey family have been making traditional cloth-bound cheddar in Pyengana in Tasmania’s far north-east for more than 100 years, making their cheddar the oldest specialist cheese in Australia. Cheesemaker and dairy farmer Jon Healey uses the knowledge passed down through three generations to produce my favourite Australian hard cheese. I believe it to be one of the very best ingredients we produce in Australia. It works well to give this dish the required depth of flavour, and it brings coherence to a group of disparate ingredients, including the amazing chestnuts produced by my friend and professional big-band leader Henry ‘The Chestnut Man’ Kovacevic. He farms two rare varieties — April Gold and George Sounds — on his two-acre (1 hectare) property at Glenlyon near Daylesford in Victoria. They are the best chestnuts I have ever eaten.

To Finish

  • 4 twice-peeled chestnuts (see Note)
  • sea salt flakes, to taste
  • 10 ml ( fl oz) smoked oil
  • 2 ml lemon juice
  • 40 lemon thyme leaves

Very thinly slice the chestnuts on a mandoline.

Warm the chestnut purée and place a dessertspoonful in the centre of each bowl.

Place a warm wedge of the salt-baked celeriac on half of the purée on each plate. Drain the egg yolks from the oil and season with sea salt. Place a yolk in front of each piece celeriac.

In a small bowl, dress the chestnut slices with the smoked oil, the lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Place the chestnut slices on the cut side of the celeriac.

Sprinkle the garlic and brown butter crumbs around the egg yolks, add the spring onion, then scatter the lemon thyme leaves over the whole dish. Pour the hot Pyengana cream around the dish at the table.

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