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Crayfish with cream and pink peppercorn sauce - Sun, 4th Jan 2009
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Great for New Year's (or Christmas, or just whenever you feel the urge to indulge!). Get yourself a good bottle of Sauvignon Blanc, kick off your shoes and rip into a hunk of good quality cray. It's pretty quick, looks damn impressive, and tastes great. I recommend getting your crayfish from Canal's in Nicholson St, as it tends to be a bit fresher than most, and isn't marked up much at Christmas time. Serves 4 (1/2 a cray each).

2 small (~600gm) cooked crayfish. 300gm snow peas
1 bunch asparagus 1/2 jar (about 50gm) pink peppercorns
2-3 tbsp cream 2 shallots
200ml beef stock 2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced thinly
Salt, pepper and sugar 1 avocado
100ml white white small hunk (tsp?) butter
Olive oil lemon juice and wedges, to serve

Pre-prepare the sauce in advance: Melt the butter and a little olive oil in a small saucepan, and saute the shallots and a clove of garlic for a couple of minutes. Add the beef stock and white wine, along with a generous seasoning of salt, pepper and sugar. Bring to the boil and reduce for about 15 mins, or down to about 1/3 of the original volume. Strain and discard the solids. Set the liquid aside to cool.

Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Also put on a smaller pot of salted water and bring to the boil, for the vegies. Snap off the asparagus bottoms and top and tail the snow peas. Add the asparagus to the boiling water, wait for 20 seconds, add the snow peas, wait another 20 seconds, then drain and rinse thoroughly in cold water to stop them from cooking further. Set aside.

Warm a large platter in the oven, and add the crayfish to the large pot of boiling water. Boil for a few minutes, just enough to warm them through, since they're already cooked. While they're in the pot, heat some olive oil in a pan and quickly fry the vegies to warm them. Add the garlic, just long enough to soften it, then remove and place on the warmed platter. Remove the crayfish from the boiling water, and chop in half, being careful to ensure that the innards don't run down onto the tail meat (otherwise it may become bitter). Rinse the head section (but not the tail - that would remove the flavour) under warm water. Heat more butter or olive oil in a pan and fry the cray halves, flesh side down, for a minute or two, just to brown the surface. Remove and arrange on the platter.

Add the reduction sauce to the pan, add the cream and the pink peppercorns. Stir thoroughly and heat through, then pour over the crayfish. Quarter and peel the avocado, slice and arrange on the platter with the crayfish. Drizzle a little lemon juice over the avocado (and cray, if desired) and serve with a couple of lemon wedges.

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