Soft poached crayfish tails with heirloom tomato carpaccio and nasturtium
Photo by Warren Buckland
There are some really simple combinations in this dish, but with great seasonal produce sometimes simple is best. At Bistronomy we make a small entrée from this dish so that one cray will serve 3 or 4 but I say be greedy at home and have one each. - James Beck, owner of Bistronomy
Tomato water and tomato gel
|1½ kgs||Tomatoes, makes approximately 750 ml of tomato water|
|2 g||Gelatine leaves, one leaf|
|100 ml||Tomato water|
Crayfish and poaching water
For the tomato water
- Pulse tomatoes, basil and some salt quickly in a food blender. Taste the resulting puree and if satisfied hang in a muslin cloth over a bowl in the fridge overnight. If the tomatoes are not ripe enough you might find it necessary to add a bit of sugar and a splash of white wine vinegar to bring out the taste.
For the tomato gel and crayfish
- Soften the gelatine in cold water. Gently heat 100ml of the tomato water and when it starts to steam, take off the heat.
- Squeeze the water out of the gelatine and whisk in to the warm tomato water. Tip the water into a small plastic container and allow to set. When cold cut the gel into small blocks.
- Blanch 4 crayfish tails in boiling salted water for 30 seconds before refreshing in iced water. This will make it easier to peel the cray.
- Use a pair of kitchen scissors to cut the shell down the length of the cray tail on both the underside and the top. You should now be able to quite easily peel the cray.
For the poaching broth
- Bring all ingredients to the boil and reduce to a simmer before adding the cray tails. Keep the temperature as low as possible to poach the tails gently (if you have a kitchen thermometer the optimum temperature is 55C). Test that the crays are cooked by slicing a piece off at the thickest end, the flesh should be white not translucent.
- Serve immediately or allow both the crays and the poaching liquid to cool separately before storing them together in the fridge. The crays will keep for a couple of days in this manner.
- Mix the lemon juice, tomato water and extra virgin olive oil together to make a vinaigrette. Slice tomatoes as thinly as possible and arrange on large plates. Brush the tomatoes with the vinaigrette and season with salt and pepper. Slice the cray tails into medallions and place on top of the tomato carpaccio. Place nasturtium leaves, flowers, tomato gel blocks and focaccia toasts randomly and drizzle with hazelnut oil. Serve.
See our interview with James beck and more of his recipes here