Outdated browser detected

You are using an unsupported browser and may not experience the site, or shop online as intended. We recommend you upgrade

Ludo Lefebvre Cassoulette of Crayfish a la Nage

This recipe is presented to you by Ludo Lefebvre.

4 Main-Course servings



  • 5 quarts water
  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
  • 4 and 1/4 teaspoons fleur de sel
  • 3 pounds live crayfish (about 80)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 Maui onion, cut into 1/4–inch thick rounds
  • 2 small carrots, peeled, cut into 1/4–inch thick rounds
  • 1 bouquet garni (made of 1 bay leaf, 2 fresh rosemary sprigs, 2 fresh thyme sprigs and 2 fresh flat-leaf parsley sprigs)
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked white pepper
  • 1 cup Sancerre
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons fresh tarragon leaves
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice


  1. Combine 4 quarts water, vinegar and 4 teaspoons fleur de sel in a large pot. Bring to a boil over high heat.
  2. Working in batches, add the crayfish and boil for 2 minutes. Drain. Discard the cooking liquid. Pull the tail away from the body; discard the body. Peel and devein the tails. Cover and refrigerate the tail meat.
  3. Melt the butter in a 5-quart pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, bouquet garni, cloves, white pepper and remaining 1/4 teaspoon of fleur de sel. Sauté until the onion begins to soften, about 4 minutes.
  4. Add the remaining 1 quart of water to just cover the vegetables. Boil until the vegetables are crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Strain the cooking liquid; return the liquid to the pot. Set the vegetables aside. Discard the bouquet garni and whole cloves.
  5. Add the Sancerre to the cooking liquid. Boil uncovered over high heat until the liquid is reduced to 2 cups, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes.
  6. Do-ahead: At this point, the crayfish tail meat, vegetables and cooking liquid can be prepared up to 8 hours ahead. Cover separately and refrigerate.
  7. Add the cream to the cooking liquid. Boil until the liquid is reduced to 1 and 1/2 cups, about 5 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon of tarragon and the reserved crayfish tail meat to the cooking liquid. Simmer over low heat to rewarm the crayfish and infuse the cooking liquid, about 2 minutes.
  8. Using a slotted spoon, divide the crayfish equally among 4 wide soup bowls. Add the reserved vegetables to the cooking liquid to rewarm, about 2 minutes. Using tongs, transfer the vegetables to the bowls, dividing equally and placing atop the crayfish.
  9. Add the lemon juice to the cooking liquid. Season the liquid to taste with fleur de sel and pepper. Drizzle the cooking liquid around the vegetables. Sprinkle with the remaining 1-tablespoon of tarragon and serve.
Recipe by Ludo Lefebvre ©2016