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CRAYFISH IN AN ORANGE AND DILL SAUCE

RECIPE BY TALLYRAND

Tena kotou, tena kotou, tena kotou katoa

This is the third instalment of my brief look at traditional NZ cuisine, which I do hasten to add is 'traditional' fare and not what is eaten on a day to day basis . . . just as the French do not eat frogs legs and snails everyday.

CrayfishIn the last two weeks we have looked at meat and vegetables, so this week it is the turn of the mighty seafood, or kai moana (ky-more-are-na) in Maori. Kai moana are very important to the Maori, from being a great food source, to the shells and bones being used for decorative use and making certain tools out of.

We do have a lot to be thankful for here in Aotearoa (are-or-te-are-ro-ah) which is the Maori for New Zealand and means 'the land of the long white cloud'. Where seafood is still abundant and easily obtained.

  • one can snorkel and catch rock lobsters (koura), scallops, sea eggs / urchins (kina) and abalone (paua) by hand
  • dig for pipis and tuangi (clams) on most beaches
  • gather mussels and oysters off the rocks or maybe some of the many edible seaweeds (parengo, karengo or makaue)
  • perhaps fresh water black mussels (kakahi) are more to your taste?
  • fish freely for salt water fish from mackerel to grouper, from the large game fish; marlin, shark and tuna to stingray.
  • or if you are a freshwater angler; try the trout or salmon and the licence covers most rivers and does not confine you to a given spot!
  • for fishing without a required licence there is always the tuna heke (freshwater eels) of which there are two species . . . what a paradise!

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Enjoy these dishes and join me next week for the final NZ instalment; how to cook a hangi, so it's haere ra from me and haere ra from him, until next week!

Kina (see eggs/urchins)

These are the round spiny creatures that can be found all over the world, they are a very highly prized delicacy in parts of Italy. When dried and the spikes removed they have a very pretty shell that many tourist purchase when holidaying in the pacific.

They are best in early spring when they have a sweeter taste. The edible part ranges in colour from a pinkish brown to yellow to dark brown and has a sloppy texture to it. They are more commonly eaten raw straight from the shell, like oysters, but can also be cooked or made into a chowder.

Koura (New Zealand rock lobster)

Also known in New Zealand as crayfish. These differ from the European lobster in that they have no massive claws and tend to a lot smaller, the large ones (above 1.75kg) are best ignored as the flesh will not be as sweet and succulent. These tips and recipes can be applied to the clawed lobster also . . . so lets be decadent and cook lobster!

According to a recent (2000 - 2001) study by New Zealand government departments, leaving the lobster in a chiller until it becomes inanimate is apparently the most humane way of treating them prior to cooking.

CRAYFISH IN AN ORANGE AND DILL SAUCE

(using cooked crayfish flesh)

This dish is simplicity itself, but produces a wonderfully light dish. The orange and dill compliments crayfish so well and will not mask the wonderful shellfish flavour

Ingredients for Crayfish in an Orange and Dill Sauce

Rock lobster/NZ crayfish (750gm)

1

pc

 

 

 

court bouillon

 

 

water

2

lt

onion

1

pc

celery stalk

1

pc

carrot

1

pc

white vinegar

50

ml

 

 

 

sauce

 

 

orange juice (fresh)

400

ml

Grand Marnier or brandy

50

ml

fresh dill

 

sq

arrowroot or cornflour

 

sq

How to make Crayfish in an Orange and Dill Sauce

Making a court bouillon

  • Peel and roughly chop the court bouillon vegetables and place in a large pot
  • Add the water and vinegar (dill, fennel or other herbs may also be added at this stage)
  • Bring to the boil and simmer for 30 minutes
  • Remove from the heat and allow to cool

Cooking the crayfish

  • Place the crayfish in the cold court bouillon and bring slowly to a boil, simmer for approx. 20 minutes
  • Remove the crayfish and allow to cool

Making the sauce (complete while the crayfish is cooking)

  • Gently cook the shallots in a little butter
  • Pour in the Grand Marnier and carefully ignite to flambé (this will burn off the alcohol content but retain the flavour)
  • Add the orange juice and simmer until reduced by half
  • Mix the arrowroot (approximately 1 tbs) with a little water and gradually pour into the sauce while stirring briskly until lightly thickened
  • Add the cooked crayfish medallions (see below) to re-heat
  • Add the chopped dill and stir through the sauce, place back into the inverted tail and serve immediately

Chef's Tip for Crayfish in an Orange and Dill Sauce

To remove the cooked flesh:
Carefully cut through the membrane between the head/body and tail
Gently pull the whole tail away from the body
Carefully cut through the belly on each side, from top to 'tail' and discard the thin belly shell
Remove the flesh and cut into neat, thick slices (medallions)
Turn the tail upside down and insert back into the head/body to make a receptacle for the cooked flesh
 
On cooking crayfish
Placing live crayfish in cold court bouillon (or salted water) achieves three important points:
  • It kills the crayfish in a humane manner
  • It gently cooks the flesh; plunging into boiling liquid will shock the flesh and toughen it
  • It keeps the legs attached to the body; plunging into boiling liquid will shock the flesh and cause them to fall off

CRAYFISH IN AN ORANGE AND DILL SAUCE (using raw crayfish flesh)

This dish is simplicity itself, but produces a wonderfully light dish. The orange and dill compliments crayfish so well and will not mask the wonderful shellfish flavour

Ingredients

Rock lobster/NZ crayfish (750gm)

1

pc

finely chopped shallots

1

tbs

Grand Marnier

50

ml

orange juice (fresh)

400

ml

arrowroot or cornflour

sq

fresh dill

sq

How to make Crayfish in an Orange and Dill Sauce

Preparing the crayfish

Carefully cut through the membrane between the head/body and tail and gently pull the whole tail away from the body

 

Carefully cut through the soft belly attached to the shell on each side, from top to 'tail' and discard the thin belly shell

 

Remove the flesh from the tail and cut into neat, thick slices (medallions)

Cooking the crayfish

  • Gently cook the shallots in a little butter
  • Add the crayfish medallions, pour in the Grand Marnier and carefully ignite to flambé (this will burn off the alcohol content but retain the flavour)
  • Add the orange juice and simmer until reduced by half (if the crayfish cooks before the reduction is complete remove, set aside and place back into the finished sauce to re-heat)
  • Mix the arrowroot (approx. 1 tbs) with a little water and gradually stir into sauce while stirring briskly until lightly thickened
  • Add the chopped dill and stir through the sauce, place back into the inverted tail and serve immediately

Chef's Tip

Using arrowroot will not effect the colour of the sauce and keeps its bright transparency. But if over thickened it will go stringy and gelatinous and cannot be thinned down, so care must be taken.

Using cornflour will not let the sauce go stringy and gelatinous, however it will effect the colour of the sauce by adding a whiteness to it and it will lose its transparency.

Enjoy and bon appetit . . . . .

Chef's terminology:

  lt
=
litres   tsp = teaspoon
  ml
=
millelitres   tbs = tablespoon
  kg
=
kilograms   sq = sufficient quantity (add to taste)
  gm
=
grams   pc = piece, meaning a whole one of

Tallyrand
Recipe from professional
Chef Tallyrand