Earlier this year (still 2012 – only just), Brunyfire and family undertook a road trip across New Zealand. The youngest of our party was then under a year old, but a great travel companion nonetheless, providing long haul entertainment and with a mature outlook on life – for a 7 month old – that continually enthralled us! Our first stop was Kaikoura where we discovered Nin’s Bin Crays and so this Christmas, and with a more recent holiday at Tassie’s Bay of Fires in mind, this recipe is dedicated to Lady SASS.The actual recipe came from Peter and Anne Blakeway’s Fresh:The best of New Zealand – from market to table – a bargain that I picked up during a very necessary potty stop – the recipe included some minor alterations on my part.Firstly, obtaining a crayfish, or rock lobster, was going to be difficult this year in Tas as they have become a bit of an endangered species lately. These creatures are sensitive and are thus susceptible to climatic change. As from last month, the north east coast of the State (at a time when the ‘cray’ plays centre stage on many a Christmas table), fell victim to a toxic algal infection making it unsafe for human consumption.
Many a Bruny ‘shackie’ sports the ubiquitous cray pot outside their shack indicative of the expectation that there will always be a Christmas lunch for the taking. However, for the rest of us, there is always a couple of commercial fishing boats moored at Kettering’s wharf to indicate that, in the past at least, crays were always available at nearby Snug.This year, however, has been particularly tough on both commercial and recreational fishers as not only have numbers of the young been down, but the north east coast in particular has been hit with a nasty bout of toxic algal bloom that is proving a public health risk if the crays are consumed.
This was a real pain, as Lady SASS’s mum had organised a celebratory holiday at the Bay of Fires……. ……..as a birthday present for Jetsetvagabond and a post exhibition wind-down for John who’s show had just opened at the Design Centre. Brunyfire had just fancied cooking up a seafood chowder on the beach in her recently acquired moqueca. (You’ll have to wait for that story……).
Despite the lack of seafood……..…….there was NO way Sofia believed her mum that there were crayfish in that there water. Fortunately, there was enough meat for a young Aussie/Brazilian to get her teeth into.Nevertheless, Brunyfire did manage to get hold of a couple of west coaster crays for a quiet Christmas barbie on Bruny, and with plenty of wild fennel around…….. ………decided to make a wild fennel alioli to go with them. So – back to the Fresh recipe on page 178.
Barbecued Crayfish with Wild Samphire and Wild Fennel Aioli.
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 1-2 egg yolks
- 1/2 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- 150 mls tablespoon olive oil (I used Molive Oil from Marlborough, New Zealand)
- 1/2 teaspoon hot water
- a few drops lemon juice
Peel and pound garlic with salt and pepper until smooth. Whisk the egg yolks, vinegar, pounded garlic, salt and pepper. Slowly add the oil, finishing with the water and a few drops of lemon juice.Take one (cooked) crayfish, get your fishmonger to cut this in half. Prepare the wild samphire sauce:
- 1/2 tablespoon butter
- 1/2 tablespoon good olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped samphire
- salt and pepper to taste
Place the above ingredients in a small pot (I used an earthenware one from my collection)…….……until thoroughly melted.Place the crayfish halves onto the barbecue, shell side down, and pour over the melted samphire sauce.Heat the crays through, ensuring not to burn the tender flesh……………until the samphire/butter sauce caramelises.When the meat is warmed through…….……..serve with the aioli, some good bread and butter and wedges of lemon…….