basil

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crayfish tail

The crayfish/western rock lobster  man of human kindness came last night with two fresh crustaceans. This provided a golden opportunity to do a post that didn’t involve potatoes.

This was very much an experiment that started with the simple technique of en papillote – wrapping in, literally, parchment and cooking. If you can get your hands on a piece of treated goatskin, good luck to you. I used baking paper.

  1. remove the crayfish tail (humane method) and then remove the poo tube by inserting a skewer at a join near the end of the tail and lifting it out. Run some kitchen scissors up the inside to open up the bottom part of the shell – this will expose the flesh (phwoar!)  and make removing the meat easier.
  2. I used a combination of chopped basil, tarragon leaves (handily flowering), butter, wedge of lemon, and a finely sliced clove of garlic. What you do next is wrap the tail around them and then secure it with a wooden skewer.
  3. place this on a piece of baking paper, bring the sides up, give them a twist to seal and tie with a piece of string.
  4. cook in a 170C oven for 20 minutes [ this may of course vary wildly but the paper turning brownish isn't a bad cue for doneness]
  5. cook some pappardelle (always makes me think of this) and mix through a bit of EVOO and basil leaves.
  6. now, plate the pasta, remove the string on the package and then place it in the middle of the pasta.
  7. you (actually since you had two crayfish, with someone you love) remove the paper, dump the buttery herby goodness onto the pasta and get your hands dirty cracking the shell open while you eat the meat with the pasta. It’s fantastic.

I opened up a bottle of McHenry Hohnen 3 Amigos 2007 Marsanne, Chardonnay, Roussanne. It sounds like it should be layered in a shot glass but is, in line with their track record, very good. It’s got that fine dining feel of a chardonnay but a lot of freshness built in and some lovely aromatics. If I were pushed I’d say it’s like a nice sofa made of lemon and soda water but that’d be nonsense so I’ll settle for – was perfect with a monday night bit of seafood slap-up fancy.

cray plated 2

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