Zucchini Cream with Crayfish and White Truffle
A puree of zucchini anchors enormous crawfish which have been cooked with bay leaves, juniper berries, and peppercorns. Chef Hanner gets his huge crawfish from Turkey. Smaller domestic crawfish may be used (double the quantity per person); large prawns may also be substituted.
- Bay Leaves - 4
- Juniper berries - 2 tablespoon
- Peppercorns - 2 tablespoon
- Extra-large Crawfish or Prawns - 24, or 48 small crawfish
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Olive Oil - 3 tablespoons
- Olive Oil - 1 tablespoon
- Onion - 1, finely diced
- Clove Garlic - 1, minced
- Zucchini - 3, cut into 1-inch chunks
- Dry white wine - 1/3 cup
- Beef Stock - 2 cups
- Salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste
- Potatoes - 2, boiled
- Spinach leaves - 1 cup, stemmed, blanched, and pureed
- Truffle oil - 1/4 cup
- White truffle shavings or freshly ground black pepper
To prepare the crawfish: Put the bay leaves, juniper berries, and peppercorns in a large pot of water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the crawfish and bring back to a boil; reduce the heat to medium, cover, and cook 6 to 8 minutes, depending upon size, until bright red. Drain, rinse with cold water, and set aside to cool completely. If using large crawfish or prawns, cut all but four in half; remove the dark vein from each. If the claws are large enough, remove them and take the meat out of the shells.
To make the zucchini cream: Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and saute the onions and garlic until soft, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the zucchini and saute 2 minutes. Add the wine and stock and simmer over medium heat for 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Mash the potatoes and stir the potatoes and pureed spinach into the mixture. Continue simmering for 10 minutes, or until the mixture is slightly thickened. Remove from heat and puree until smooth.
To finish the crawfish: Season the crawfish halves with salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and place the crawfish, cut-side down, in the oil. Turn after 1 minute and cook 1 minute on the second side, just enough to color slightly. Remove and drain. Do not crowd the pan; saute in batches if necessary to give each crawfish its own space.
To serve: Ladle a pool of zucchini cream in the center of each warmed soup plate. Anchoring the tails in the zucchini cream, position 6 large crawfish or prawns, or 12 small crawfish, around the cream. Use one whole one per plate as garnish. Drizzle with truffle oil and truffle shavings. Alternatively, drizzle with truffle oil and dust the plates with fresh pepper grindings.