Poached Lobster, Dressed Crab, Oysters, Cured Salmon, Prawns and Mussels served on crushed ice with a selection of sauces. You will learn to prepare, cook and dress crab and lobster, shuck oysters, cure salmon, prepare prawns and mussels for serving over ice for a decadent feast. Garniture will include; Sauce Mignonette, Rouille and Seafood (Cocktail) Sauce.
For the Mignonette/Shallot relish:
Peel and finely dice the shallots, then mix together with the red wine vinegar, red wine and black pepper.
For the Rouille:
Place 2 of the eggs in cold water and set to boil. Once boiling, simmer for 6 minutes until hard boiled. Drain and run under cold water. When cool, peel and remove the white. Now, using a sieve and a spoon, push the egg yolk through and reserve.
Separate the remaining egg. Peel and grate the garlic. Soak the saffron threads in a tablespoon of warm water.
Using a spoon, push the red pepper through a sieve and reserve.
In a large bowl, place the raw egg yolk, mustard, lemon juice.
Slowly pour the olive oil, drop by drop to start, whilst whisking continuously. As the mixture thickens, you can start adding the oil in a stream. When the mixture is quite thick and the oil is used up, season with salt, add the cayenne, sieved egg yolk and red pepper. Finally add the saffron water and garlic. Stir well until completely blended.
For the seafood sauce:
Place all of the ingredients, except the sunflower oil in a food processor, turn on to full and add the oil slowly. If the sauce is too thick, you can let it down with a little water.
You can also do this by hand, using the same method as for the Rouille.
To cure the salmon:
Pin-bone the fish if necessary. Chop the dill finely. Pat dry the salmon with some paper towel. Mix the salt, sugar and chopped dill together, and generously cover the fish with the mix. Cover the fish with cling film, and weigh down with a few heavy tins.
Leave the fish to cure in the refrigerator for up to 3 hours. If you want to hurry the curing process, the fish can be left out of the refrigerator, in a cool place for about an hour.
When the curing is done, rinse off the salt, pat dry, and slice thinly.
Any left-overs should be wrapped tightly, and kept refrigerated.
For the Lobster:
If you have bought a live lobster, you should kill it just before cooking it. Never pick up a live lobster who's claws are NOT bound with elastic bands, as they can do some serious damage!!! The most humane way to do this is to put it in the freezer for two hours, or put in a container and cover it with crushed ice for the same amount of time - this will render it unconscious. Then, having made sure that the lobster is no longer moving, push the tip of a large, sharp, heavy knife or a skewer through the centre of the cross on its head and split down downards the claws, it's believed that this will kill it instantly.
To cook the lobster:
Bring a large 5 litre pot to the boil, adding 3% salt. That is 30g per liter.
Place the lobster in the boiling water and cook for 8 min, for a 500g crustacean.
Remove with a slotted lifter or tongs and allow to cool to room temperature before refrigerating.
To prepare the lobster:
First twist off the claws, then break into sections, crack the claw shell with a hammer or a pair of lobster crackers, then remove the flesh. Reserve this to place in the shell once the stomach sac is removed.
Next, split the lobster in half along its length by inserting a large, sharp knife at right angles to the edge of the head and press down firmly. The body and tail should be split lengthways. Then cut through the head in the same way. You should now be able to separate the two halves. Remove and throw away the pale stomach sac, the gills and the dark intestinal thread that runs the length of the tail. The green liver (known as tomalley) is considered a delicacy. Remove the meat from the tail, and scrape out the soft flesh from the shell.
If any coral-coloured roe is present, it can be mixed with butter and the ground shells to make lobster butter, useful as a spread or to add to sauces. The shells can also be used to make stock.
For the Crab:
Crabs can react violently to being placed directly into boiling water by shooting their claws. As a result it is considered most humane to place them in a freezer before cooking for at least 2 hours so they become comatose and die. However, the method is only humane if done quickly in a large freezer at a temperature of -18 C.
The most common method used in restaurants is the mechanical destruction method, this involves using a knife to pierce underneath the crab's abdominal flap. This should only be practiced by trained professionals; the procedure should not take more than 10 seconds and must be carried out once the crab has been desensitised by chilling.
Flip the crab onto its back and you'll see a triangular tail piece pointing up towards the crab's head. Lift this back fully, away from the claws, and you'll see a small cone shaped hole. Driving a sharp chopstick or screwdriver into the hole, with a sharp tap from a rolling pin, kills the crab instantly. Do this quickly and decisively, and with enough force to drive the spike right through the crab until it reaches the shell on the other side.
To Cook the crab, place in a pot of boiling salted water 1.5% solution and cook for 8 - 12min for a 500g crab.
To get the meat out of the crab, twist the legs and claws off, then crack them open and remove the white meat with a lobster pick or teaspoon. Now turn the main body on its back and twist off the pointed flap. Push the tip of a table knife between the main shell and the bit to which the legs were attached and twist the blade to separate the two then push the body up and remove from the outer shell. Scoop out the brown meat and put to one side. Wash the shell and reserve for filling later.
On the other part of the body, remove the dead man's fingers (these are the feather-like, grey gills attached to the body) and discard. Split the body in half with a heavy knife and then cut each side in half again. Now you need to be patient and pick out the white meat from the little cavities in the body, again using a lobster pick or a teaspoon.
Once you have removed all of the white meat, go through it carefully to make sure there is no shell remaining. You can also do this by dropping small amounts into a metal bowl and listening out for a "chink". Do the same with the brown meat. Make sure to keep these separate.
Take the clean shell an fill one half with brown meat and the other with white meat.
Chop the parsley finely to use as garnish. Sprinkle this where the brown and white meats meet.
To shuck the oysters:
Wrap a teatowel over one hand and use it to hold the oyster tightly. Using an oyster shucking knife in the other hand, place the tip of the shucking knife at the base of the hinge, twist the knife to prise the hinge open. Slide the knife along the flat side of the shell to release the oyster.
To prepare the mussels:
Wash the mussels in plenty of water. Using your fingers, remove the beard by pulling sharply in the direction of the pointed end. Now you must check that they are alive. Do this by giving any open mussels a sharp tap on a hard surface. If they do not close immediately, discard them.
Place a large saucepan and heat to a medium high heat. Throw the mussels in with about 100ml of water, cover with a lid and steam for about 2 minutes until all have opened. Discard any that remain closed. Chill for use later. Once chilled, remove the half shell and place the meat in it.
Keep all the fish and seafood cold until ready to serve.
To cook the prawns.
Place a grill pan on a medium heat. Lightly season the shell on prawns with salt and grill for approx. 4min each side. They are done when they turn completely pink and curl up, so that the tail is almost touching the legs. Chill until ready to serve.
To assemble the platter:
Take a suitable dish, that will hold an inch or 2 of crushed ice.Fill with the ice and arrange the seafood, garnish with some lemon wedges and serve with the prepared sauces.
If you can find it, some decorative seaweed makes a nice addition to the platter. Hint - chat up your local fishmonger and they will be glad to source some for you.
Finish this feast with a champagne sorbet for a truly elegant experience.
«Fresh fish and seafood are essential for this feast. Your local fishmonger is the best place to source these. By visiting them regularly and developing a friendly relationship will inevitably lead to delicious things and considerable savings.»