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
- Combine 4 quarts water, vinegar and 4 teaspoons fleur de sel in a large pot. Bring to a boil over high heat.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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