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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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Truffle Series: Lamb ragu pappardelle, truffle, pecorino

After obtaining two little beautiful treasures from Madame Truffles this year, I don’t think I’ll ever again pass up an opportunity to cook with fresh truffles if I can get my hands on some. I’m already scheming for next season.

Last week, when I posted about South Melbourne, I promised a couple of truffle-based recipes derived from my experiments… so here I am, delivering. This amazingly aromatic, really sort of ugly little fungal delicacy really works great in so many things – I even found myself casually placing a few fresh shavings in my jaffle maker to fancy up a lazy weeknight dinner. I wish I had more recipes to share, but typical of me, I didn’t write anything down most of the time.

This is such an indulgent dish – decadent and very rich, I can’t seem to quite devour it in quite my usual gluttonous homecooking serving sizes, though my palate very much resents the fact.

Lamb ragu pappardelle with shaved black Australian truffle and pecorino

Things to note

Serves: 6

Time needed: About 3 to 3½ hours

What you’ll need

For ragu
1 kg lamb shoulder
1 ltr approx fresh chicken stock
½ ltr vegetable stock
250 mL dry white wine

10g black truffle (with truffle slicer or microplane)
Pecorino cheese
Butter – about a 3cm slice from a standard stick

8 garlic cloves (minced)
1 white onion (sliced into half rings)
2 shallots (diced)
2 carrots (1 diced, 1 roughly sliced)
2 purple carrots (1 diced, 1 roughly sliced)
3 sticks of celery (chopped approx 1 cm pieces)

5 sprigs thyme (1 sprig finely chopped)
⅓ bunch parsley (finely chopped)

Sea salt
Black Pepper (cracked)

Homemade Napoli sauce (see recipe and ingredients below) or fresh, good quality store bought

NB: For even richer and more decadent results, replace butter in this recipe with homemade truffle butter. It’s fairly easy and Google with help with a recipe!

Lamb

  1. Rub lamb in salt and pepper and cover for 30 min. Sear the lamb in a large lidded casserole dish or dutch oven, about 4 minutes on each side. Remove and set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 160°C.
  3. Add butter to casserole dish. Fry onions, shallots and garlic in butter until slightly translucent.
  4. Add sliced carrots (1 purple, 1 orange) and chopped celery and continue to saute for 10 minutes
  5. Add the remaining butter. Place the lamb back in the dish, then pour in the chicken stock and white wine. Add parsley and the whole sprigs of thyme (leaving the chopped thyme for later). Stir a little and bring to a gentle simmer.
  6. Cover the casserole dish and place in the oven. Roast for 1 hour.

Beginning the sauce…

  1. While the lamb is roasting, make the Napoli sauce (see recipe)
  2. After the first hour, turn down the oven temperature to 150°C and roast lamb for a further 1 hour 10 min.
  3. Remove casserole dish from oven and take off the lid. Leave to rest for 10 minutes.
  4. Remove lamb from dish and place on a large chopping board.
  5. Remove the solid vegetables in the dish (they will be quite mushy – we used them for flavour during cooking) and discard. Strain the cooking juices through a sieve and muslin into a separate bowl or container.
  6. Add the Napoli sauce from earlier into the now empty casserole dish, and bring to a simmer. Add the diced purple and orange carrots.
  7. Add the cooking juices from the lamb reserved just earlier to the casserole with the sauce and carrots. Simmer for 20 mins while completing the next step.

Pulled lamb ragu

  1. Start to pull the lamb meat off the bone with a fork. It should fall off quite easily. Pull meat apart further using forks, as you would for pulled pork, until quite fine.

  1. Add pulled lamb into casserole dish with carrots and Napoli sauce to complete the ragu. Cook for 10 minutes on low heat, stirring.
  2. Add chopped thyme. Add more salt and pepper to taste.

Finishing touches

  1. Shave some truffle and pecorino using a microplane – the amount is up to you.
  2. Cook pappardelle in a large pot until al dente. Lift the pappardelle out of the pot with pasta server or tongs, while shaking very gently to get rid of excess moisture. It may not be necessary to drain the pot as this way the pasta will remain more starchy and able to hold sauce more easily.
  3. Place pasta in serving dishes and add the ragu. Drizzle with a wee bit of EVO and garnish with truffle shavings and shaved pecorino. (If you like, spoon one tablespoon of the starchy water the pasta has been cooked in into the pasta sauce while it’s still simmering. Otherwise, just add the freshly cooked sauce to the fresh cooked pasta immediately for good results.)


Simple Napoli sauce

What you’ll need

4 vine tomatoes
1 tin diced Italian tomatoes
½ large (or 1 small) brown onion (diced)
5 cloves garlic (minced)
2 tbsp quality tomato paste
½ bunch basil (finely chopped)
5 sprigs oregano (torn/broken)
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt
Black Pepper (cracked)

What to do

  1. Blanch the tomatoes and peel. Then dice roughly and place aside.
  2. Heat half of the olive oil in a saucepan on medium. Add onions and garlic and sautee until translucent.
  3. Turn the heat down to medium-low. Add chopped fresh tomatoes, tomato paste, the rest of the olive oil and the brown sugar. Crush with a wooden spoon as you stir and bring to a light simmer.
  4. Add the tinned tomatoes, salt and pepper, and bring slowly back to a simmer.
  5. Turn heat down to low. Add half the oregano and half the basil.
  6. Simmer on low heat, partially covered for 1 hour.
  7. Stir in the remaining basil and oregano


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