Crayfish au Chardonnay
There had to be one recipe featuring a white wine...
This is from and old Margaret Fulton recipe book, dating from 1982, "Superb
Restaurant Dishes" (ISBN 0 7064 1795 X). I haven't looked to see if it is
This dish is noted as originating from Auberge de la Côte 108 near Reims. It recommends using Charles Heidsieck Blanc de Blancs Champagne as the chardonnay component, it specifies half a bottle, but that is far too little liquid to make the recipe work as shown in the book, for 4 serves. When I made this recently I used a full bottle of Rochecombe 2000 Chardonnay sparkling form Tasmania (with less seafood) and that was just enough for two people.
1 medium carrot, thinly sliced
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
3 spring onions, chopped
1 bottle of Chardonnay-based sparkling wine, or a non-sweet, non-oaked still chardonnay (+ some more chardonnay, water or fish or chicken stock if more liquid is required)
1/2-1 bay leaf
1 sprig of fresh thyme
1 stick of celery, with leaves, cut roughly to fit the pot
2 sprays of parsley
salt and freshly ground black pepper
24 freshwater crayfish (or large green king prawns or yabbies), washed but not shelled. I have also used a mix of green prawns and whiting fillets sliced to a convenient size.
125g butter, softened
2 ripe tomatoes, skinned, seeded and cut into small dice
1 Tbs snipped chives
Place the vegetables (not tomato), champagne and flavourings in a saucepan, bring to the boil and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.
Drop the shellfish in and cook for 3 minutes.
Take out shellfish, aromatic leaves (bay leaf, thyme, celery, parsley). Discard the leaves.
Extract the meat from tails and claws of the shellfish (crayfish, yabbies), devein prawns.
Heat a small knob of butter in a saucepan and cook the diced tomato until it
is soft and most of the liquid has evaporated, about 3-5 minutes.
Press the liquid and vegetables used to cook the shelffish through a sieve, then return to the rinsed out suacepan and cook, uncovered, over high heat until reduced to about 1.5 cups. (This is about half a bottle, which is why you need to start with a full bottle or more).
Reduce the heat to moderate and whisk in the remaining butter in small pieces.
Add the tomatoes (or reserve is as a garnish).
Add the snipped chives and adjust seasoning.
Add the shellfish and gently heat through.
Spoon into 4 heated soup bowls or individual casserole dishes and serve at once, with a good crusty bread..
This is my latest version, with prawns and (lightly pan-fried first) whiting fillets as well and a whole whiting fillet pan-fried until crisp as a garnish.