Yes you read right, Aldi has produced a selection of gourmet ingredients that are up to the highest standards of Chef Ezard of Black. I joined him a few days ago on a 7-course degustation of seafood, succulent meat, and wine.
We began with the Almare Atlantic Salmon which is sourced from the pristine waters of Tasmania, and is never frozen so as to maintain the authentic flavour. The gourmet twist came with sesame custard, edamame puree, and chardonnay dressing which was light enough to enhance the silky salmon. This was matched with an A.C Byrne & Co Margaret River Le Premiere Chardonnay 2013 which had a delicate complexity of white stone fruits, vanilla, toasty oak, and creamy white nectarine.
The Killarnee Lamb Chops came next and were a celebration of textures with just enough crunchy crackling to melt with the juicy lamb. Coming from nearby farms in New South Wales and Victoria, I love that they have no added growth hormones, and are MSA graded – which means they’ve been independently endorsed for tenderness, juiciness, and flavour. The lemon, black pepper, and salsa verde balanced the lamb in a way that allowed it to be introduced even to lamb beginners – and you can do just that with the recipe right at the bottom of the page. If you want the whole experience, you can also match it with a Tudor Yarra Valley Pinot Noir 2012 as we did on the day, which exuded raspberries, spice, and intense forest fruits for some Pinot charm.
Hailing from southern New South Wales, Queensland, and Victoria, the lucky Willowton Free Range Chicken are happy chickens, with access to pastures and natural light for at least 8 hours every day – and of course they’re free from antibiotics and added hormones. The resulting dish was fresh and juicy, wonderfully complemented with chestnuts, shallots, and crunchy brussel sprouts that showed me brussel sprouts can taste good after all. A Second Left Eden Valley Cabernet Merlot 2012 combined the softness of a Cabernet Merlot blend with the richness of black fruits, blackcurrant, and black plum, finishing with a gentle hint of chocolate and mint.
The Pebble Creek Pork Lion matched perfectly with the creamy apple puree, braised kale, cider and mustard dressing to give it a bit of a kick. What’s more, sows from Pebble Creek are grown in a stall-free environment, where they enjoy free and natural movement. Served with the pork was a rich and balanced Kaiora Bay Reserve Central Otago Pinot Noir 2012 that was loaded with spice, dark cherries and redcurrants with a long constructed finish.
For the 5th course, we revisited the lamb, but this time with a much richer flavour. The Killarnee Lamb Leg was served with olive oil poached, smoked eggplant, paprika, and indulgent black garlic that brings together the dish. Paired with this dish was a Blackstone Paddock Barossa Shiraz 2012, which had a rich, full flavour balanced with Asian spices, kirsch, and well-handled oak.
Now I have heard frantic raves about the steak at Black, and I tasted why with the flavour medley that came with the Highland Park Grass Fed Beef Fillet with buttered desiree puree, exotic mushrooms and truffle. Although it didn’t have the fall-apart, melt-in-your-mouth amazingness that comes with 9+ marbling, Aldi’s take on steak is still moist, flavoursome, and cooked perfectly to tenderness. Their grass-fed cattle have superior genetics and are bred exclusively from high quality British breeds such as Angus and Heresford. They’re also raised in a free-range environment, where they’re able to roam and graze in a stress-free environment. Partnered with it was a contemporary Baron Amarillo Rioa Reserva 2008 with earthy and dried herb characters, and vibrant red fruits.
We ended with my favourite dish of the day, the Pebble Creek Pork Leg. What made it so amazing was the contrast of flavours that took me on an expedition of the palate. I’m obsessed with juxtaposing different tastes together, and this dish had spicy green chilli caramel, tangy nashi pear, and sweet and salty peanuts that all must be eaten in one bite with the juicy, crunchy pork for a synthesis of flavours and textures. I loved it. With this deliciousness was a Tudor Central Victorian Shiraz 2012, which was granted a Sydney International Top 100 Blue Gold Award this year. It tasted of blackberry, pepper and spice, integrated with elegant French oak.
Friendly kitchen staff cooking away.
Here’s a special recipe from Chef Teage Ezard for you to try at home – with all Aldi elements, you can recreate an exact replica of his culinary masterpiece!
- 12 ALDI Killarnee lamb chops
- 2 tbsp, plus 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Salsa verde
- 2 cups loosely packed fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp. salt-packed capers, soaked, rinsed, drained, and finely chopped
- 1/4 tsp. crushed red chilli flakes
- 6 oil-packed anchovy fillets, drained and finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- Fennel salad
- juice and zest of half a lemon
- 1/2 fennel bulb
- 1/2 spanish onion
- handful parsley
- extra virgin olive oil
- salt & pepper
- Place lamb into a small baking dish, rub with 2 tbsp, oil and season with salt and pepper. Set aside to rest for 30 minutes.
- Salsa verde - Combine mint, parsley, tarragon, capers, chilli flakes, anchovies, and garlic in a medium bowl. Slowly drizzle in remaining oil while stirring with a fork to make the salsa verde, set aside.
- Fennel Salad - Peel & thinly slice onion. Thinly slice fennel. Zest the lemon with a micro plane, then juice. Pick leaves from parsley. Toss altogether with juice in bowl, dress with oil, season to taste.
- Lamb chops - Build a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill or set gas grill to medium-high heat. (Alternatively, heat a cast-iron grill pan over medium-high heat.) Add lion chops and cook, flipping once, until browned and crusty and cooked ti desired temperature, 6-8 minutes for medium rare if using lion chops (rib chops will take only 4 minutes or so to reach medium rare). Transfer lamb to a platter.
- To serve - Stir sauce and drizzle over chops, reserving some of the sauce to serve on the side with the fennel salad.
Black by Ezard
Level G, Harbourside, The Star,
80 Pyrmont St, Pyrmont NSW
Phone: (02) 9657 9109
Opens: Tue-Thu 5:30pm-9:30pm, Fri 12pm – 3pm & 5:30pm – 10pm, Sat 5:30pm – 10pm, Sun 12pm – 3pm & 5:30pm – 9:30pm
I Ate My Way Through attended the Meat and Seafood Degustation Lunch as a guest of Aldi and Black by Ezard, with thanks to Professional Public Relations Australia.