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Truffle Series: Butter poached crayfish with seafood linguine

What did I do with the other half of that Pemberton truffle I posted about with my pie recipe?

Two words: Crayfish. Pasta.

To be honest, I wasn’t sure this dish would work – I’m so used to eating and cooking with black truffle in heartier dishes and ingredients with deeper flavours. But I had done red meat – beef cheek, lamb – and I had done mushrooms to death, I had done simple things like a cheesy gratin or soup or even scrambled eggs and toasties that really let the truffle shine. What I hadn’t used truffle with was seafood. For some reason (*ahem* Masterchef Australia, I’m looking at you) I was suddenly really desperate to make a crustacean stock and also had a craving for some succulent, sweet, fresh crayfish. Plus, I had all that truffle butter that I had made, and I thought that I must be able to build a dish around all of these semi-disjointed ideas.

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In the end, I made a very rich and flavoursome crustacean stock and worked it into a decadently creamy, buttery pasta sauce, truffled some scallops and butter-poached a crayfish tail. I was pretty happy with the outcome, though I wish I had used better linguine (you can!) because that almost ruined it.

Truffle butter poached crayfish with seafood linguine

Truffle Butter

For the truffle butter, I just sliced a block of good cooking butter into 5 pieces and stuck very thin fresh truffle shavings in between them, and put them back together into one block. I surrounded the block with more truffle shavings, and wrapped everything in up in cling wrap, put it back in the fridge overnight.

The next day, I took out the butter and let it soften at room temperature for about 20 minutes. Then I put it into a metal bowl and used a spoon to work and mix it until the truffle was distributed pretty evenly throughout the butter.

The Main Event

6 scallops
6 king prawns
1 crayfish tail
1 large shallot (diced)
3 cloves garlic (minced)
300mL (approx) vegetable or mild chicken stock
200mL (approx) dry white wine
150mL (approx) heavy cream
tarragon (chopped finely)
parsley (chopped finely)
chervil
fresh black truffle shavings (approx maybe 20)
1 red chilli (optional)
1 tablespoon corn flour
2 servings of linguine (dried or fresh)
1 tablespoon olive oil

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  1. The night before cooking, wrap scallops individually in cling wrap with thin slices of truffle on either side
  2. Peel and de-vein the prawns, set shells aside. Remove the crayfish tail from its shell, set the shell aside. Remove the membranous bits of the underside of the crayfish as best you can.
  3. Break apart and smash the crustacean shells from above. Place shells in a tall saucepan/pot, add half the vege stock and all of the wine, and a couple of pinches of salt
  4. Simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring from time to time, until visibly reduced
  5. While that’s happening, in a separate pan, melt a tablespoon of truffle butter from above, then saute garlic and shallots (and a little bit of chilli if you like) until the shallots are translucent. Set aside.
  6. Remove crayfish and prawn shells from stock; strain the stock through muslin or a very fine sieve, then return to saucepan
  7. Turn heat to low and add about 100g (yes, that much!) of butter to the stock, in 6-8 separate chunks. After adding each chunk, stir slowly until fully mix, before adding the next chunk. Do not let the stock boil or the butter will separate from the stock.
  8. Add some tarragon and parsley to the stock, and a little more salt to taste. If there’s more than 5cm of liquid at the bottom of your saucepan, remove some of the stock mixture and set aside.
  9. Quickly sear the crayfish tail (about 45 secs each side on high heat if small, 1 minute each if a bit larger). Then add the crayfish to the buttery stock that’s left in the saucepan.
  10. Poach crayfish on a very gentle simmer for about 7-8 minutes (turning halfway through) – but check it this as it will depend on the size of the crayfish, the liquid level in your saucepan. Remove when just cooked and very tender. (If you removed any stock before, now re-add the the stock you removed to the saucepan.)
  11. Add the garlic and shallots sauteed before. Add in the rest of the original vege/chicken stock. Bring back to a gentle simmer
  12. Bring a big pot of water to a rolling boil. Add plenty of salt, olive oil, and cook the linguine until al dente. Set aside with some olive oil mixed through to prevent sticking.
  13. Stir in the cream very slowly in 2-3 batches.
  14. Pan-fry the prawns and scallops in truffle butter until the scallops are golden brown, then set aside.
  15. Mix the corn flour with 2/3 tablespoon of cold water until mixed fully, then add to the saucepan. Stir in and simmer gently until the sauce thickens a little, simmer for two more minutes, then turn off the heat.
  16. Either slice the crayfish tail in half down the middle, OR, you can slice it into 3 cm pieces. I like biting into a nice, juicy crayfish chunk so I choose the first option.
  17. In two pasta dishes or shallow bowls, place one serving of the linguine in each. Spoon a small ladle of the sauce onto the pasta and mix gently until it coats the linguine.
  18. Distribute half the crayfish pieces, three scallops and three prawns into each dish on top of the linguine. Ladle more sauce on top of the pasta and seafood until attractively covered.
  19. Top dish with finely shaved or sliced truffle, chopped chervil and one sprig of chervil.

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