CHEF SERIES: Jason Saxby, Raes on Wategos
Raes on Wategos is nothing short of a Byron Bay institution. At the helm of its much adored eatery is Jason Saxby, a chef well-versed in fine dining, who has worked in some of Sydney’s best restaurants, Quay and Pilu at Freshwater included. He’s arrived at Raes armed with an interest in Italian cuisine, and (luckily for us) a penchant for Salumi Australia products.
Among the dishes on the Raes Dining Room menu you’ll find Jason’s ode to ‘nduja – the seared coral prawns, with ajo blanco, ‘nduja and prawn head oil vinaigrette. “Basically the dish started with the ‘nduja dressing and I went from there,” he explains. “I absolutely love the combination of seafood with the spicy, meaty flavour of ‘nduja.
“The soft, smooth consistency of the Salumi Australia ‘nduja means it melts remarkably well into liquids. So we slowly render it down and then deglaze with an aged red wine vinegar and some sugar to balance the spiciness. This gives an amazing agrodolce, aka sweet and sour balance to the dressing. Add gently seared coral prawns (AMA – EBI prawns we get from the coastline of the coral sea) – these are so amazingly sweet and soft, making for a perfect match.
“Then we top with a dressing split with the ‘nduja and an intense prawn oil, as well as a creamy ajo blanco. There is also a crumb made with some of the excess oil from the ‘nduja. We just fry the bread crumbs in this oil until golden brown, crispy and spicy. And finally, for a bit of relief, we lightly ferment some amazing rainbow chard from Boon Luck Farm, which brings a bit of crunch and lightness to the dish.”