I have always enjoyed crayfish as they were readily available when we were young and quite cheap too. My dad brought home a few on a Saturday from Cape Town Harbour, all alive and kicking, desperate to escape from the basket they were being held down in with a lid.
My dear mom once again had the job of dealing with these poor things, so with much crying of “oh shame Chum!” (as she called my dad), the crayfish were dropped into a large pot, 2 to 3 to a pot of salted water with a lid on and a brick on top!
Eventually, all was quiet in the pots as they boiled away till pink in colour. Our children loved sucking the sweet meat from the legs and feelers etc. while my mom prepared the crayfish dish to be served at the table with lemon butter and rice…. delicious!
The leftover legs and any scraps were boiled again with onion and veggies to make a soup. Add a cup of cream and a spoonful of tomato paste, and It becomes a lovely pink colour like the crayfish shell when cooked.
My Recipe – Lobster Bisque
Makes approximately 2 litres
- 2 medium crayfish.
- 1 onion, 1 carrot, 2 sticks of celery
- 2 cloves garlic.
- The rind of 1 lemon.
- 70g tin of tomato paste
- 1 tub crème fraîche.
- 500 ml chicken stock in hot water
- 100g butter
- ½ bottle Esona Chardonnay wine
- Steam crayfish for 20 minutes in 2 cups of water. Reserve water to add to soup later.
- Remove fish from the carcass and set it aside. Keep the nicest shells for the pot but throw away the body cavity.
- Sauté onion and garlic in butter. Chop up veggies and add to pot with all other ingredients plus liquids and legs and shells plus 2 teaspoons sugar
- Boil gently for 30 minutes, stirring now and then.
- Remove legs & shells with a slotted spoon, and add salt & pepper to taste.
- Puree all until nice and smooth.
- Dish up into warmed soup bowls, and add a few pieces of crayfish meat to each portion with a little cream and chopped chives.
- Now pour yourself a glass of Esona Chardonnay and enjoy with the bisque – the perfect accompaniment!
*This soup is rich and expensive to make, but well worth the effort for a special occasion.