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Fresh crayfish tail

January 11, 2012

I love crayfish. I love the sweet delicate flesh. I love the texture. I love the flavour. Staring at a pile of freshly cooked crays at the fishmongers is my adult equivalent of peering at the contents of lolly jars on the counter at the corner store when I was a child.

I can remember the heady days when crayfish wasn’t a luxury. Large platters of it were served at my cousin’s wedding. So much so that her brother agreed with satisfaction that we’d actually eaten our fill of the delicacy.

I have been lucky enough to have friends who dive for the crustacean and always appeared with a freshly cooked cray for us to enjoy on Christmas Day. Alas those friends are across the Tasman and if I want to enjoy crayfish now, I must pay. And the miser in me wouldn't let the hedonist open the wallet. Until The Spouse in his usual logical fashion told me I should splash out some crayfish as a substitute for going out for dinner.

At the moment the fishmongers at my market have cooked King Island crays in abundance. They also have raw King Island cray tails. The price has moved around a bit, ranging from $60 to $70 a kilo in the past couple of weeks. I bought one that weighed in at more than 300g and cost just over $20. No, it wasn’t huge but then I also wasn’t paying for the body and there was no tedious claw cracking to extract every morsel.

I popped it in a pot of boiling, salted water and it quickly took on that disitnctive bright red colour as it cooked for 7-8 minutes. I placed the drained tail in a bowl of ice to cool. My large cleaver made quick work of cutting through the shell lengthwise to halve the tail.

On reflection, two would have been good, but we savoured every last morsel.

As I am in the throes of mastering the Thermomix that was my Christmas present, it was time to put my skills to the test and make some mayonnaise. I added some lemon zest, horseradish cream, Dijon mustard and finely ground black pepper to my usual recipe and substituted lemon juice for white wine vinegar. The flavour was good, without detracting from the crayfish which we had with a simple  green salad with blanched sugarsnap peas.

There was also a sliced red onion, cucumber and tomato side splashed with a little dressing.

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