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 still available.

Description:
This dish is noted as originating from Auberge de la Cte 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. 

Ingredients:
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

Method:
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.