Crayfish, known elsewhere as rock lobster, in Japan as ise-ebi, and is essentially a labster without claws is now cheap has been cheap for a while. I picked up a live one for $16 which is a mere two KFC Middle Earth packs.
Crayfish left two issues to be resolved. One was my teens in Mandurah where hugely illegal amounts were caught and then, for all this effort, boiled to fack en masse and then eaten with vinegar or something.
The other was with a dinner with clients in Japan where they had crayfish sashimi and the head tried to make a slow painful dash for it off the plate.
So, with crayfish available, I wanted to put to bed both issues. The crayfish would be as nature intended it and it would die a quick and painless death.
The finessing of the presentation of the lobster came from Hideo Dekura’s Japanese Flavours – Modern Classics.
Sweet Dreams Sweet Prince Lobsters have a very refined nervous system so I imagine their usual experience before death could be approximated by sticking your family jewels into boiling hot water. The humane way is this, pop them in the freezer to send them to sleep and gently pull them out and plunge a knife into their brain – ikijimi. The head was then dispatched with a cleaver.
I wanted to keep the top part of the tail intact and not having kitchen scissors, I managed to cut the underbelly out with a knife. The flesh didn’t want to get go anywhere. Probably retaining some post death sense of duty. Eventually I worked it out and put it in iced water for 10 minutes to firm it up.
Slicing was a disappointment. Rather than being beautiful round slices, the cray meat broke up into segments.
Presentation Used a square earthenware plate from Japan. Working from one corner to the other.
Small mound of wasabi.
Empty crayfish tail filled as follows: slice of crayfish, sliver of lime, slice of crayfish, sliver of lime, etc.
Line of salmon sashimi. In 5mm slices and then spread like a deck of cards.
Other corner: flowering bit of a Hebi – ornamental only and not for human consumption.
Taste Taste was exceptional with the pure flavours coming through clearly without the usual saltiness and toughness of boiled crays. Had with soy and wasabi. Sister in law Vic had never had raw fish before and wasn’t freaked out by it so AOK. I would easily take a third of a live cray raw than my own cooked one.