Yabbies with peas, baby spinach and asparagus

AT A GLANCE

  • Serves 8 people

  • 24 live yabbies
  • 80 ml (1/3 cup) olive oil
  • 40 gm baby English spinach
  • 1½ cups (loosely packed) snow pea leaves (see note)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 bunches thin asparagus (24 spears), halved diagonally
  • 120 gm podded peas (400gm unpodded)
  • ¾ cup (loosely packed) chervil sprigs
  • ¼ bunch of chives, cut into batons
  •  
  • Bisque
  • ½ small onion, diced
  • ½ large carrot, diced
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 30 ml brandy
  • 1 large tomato, coarsely chopped
  • 4 thyme sprigs
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • 500 ml (2 cups) chicken stock
  • 80 ml (1/3 cup) pouring cream
  •  
  • Béarnaise
  • golden shallots, finely chopped
  • 50 ml tarragon vinegar
  • 6 black peppercorns, crushed
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 125 gm clarified butter, melted, plus extra for greasing
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  •  
  • Lemon vinaigrette
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 80 ml (1/3 cup) olive oil
  • ¼ tsp Dijon mustard
01   Place yabbies in freezer for 15 minutes to put them to sleep. Meanwhile, bring a large stock pot of salted water to the boil. Add yabbies and cook until just pink (1-2 minutes). Drain, then refresh in iced water. Drain again. Working with one yabby at a time, hold and lift the middle flap on the tail and lightly twist from side to side to loosen. Carefully remove tail flap, pulling out the intestinal tract with it. Twist the tail and head in opposite directions to separate, then remove tail meat from shell and place on an absorbent paper-lined tray. Set aside. Repeat with remaining yabbies (reserving shells and heads for bisque). Refrigerate until required.
02   For bisque, heat a large frying pan over medium heat. Add reserved yabby shells and heads and cook, stirring occasionally, until light golden (3-5 minutes), then transfer to a casserole or large saucepan. Set aside. Add diced vegetables and garlic to frying pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until just soft (3-5 minutes), then add to casserole. Add brandy to frying pan and flame with a match, then add to casserole with tomato, herbs and chicken stock. Place casserole over high heat and bring to the boil, then simmer over low heat until vegetables are very soft (1 hour). Coarsely purée with a hand-held blender (be careful as hot mixture may spit). Strain twice through a fine sieve into a clean saucepan (discard solids). Add cream, bring to the boil and cook until reduced to 375ml (5-7 minutes). Set aside.
03   For béarnaise, combine shallot, vinegar, peppercorns and 80ml water in a small pan. Bring to the boil, then cook over medium heat until reduced to 40ml (2-4 minutes). Add egg yolks and whisk well, then add a tablespoon of warm water and whisk vigorously over low heat until foamy and holds a ribbon (1-2 minutes). Gradually add butter in a thin steady stream, whisking continuously until emulsified (2-4 minutes). Add parsley, cover with plastic wrap and keep warm.
04   Heat oil in a large saucepan over high heat. Add spinach and snow pea leaves and cook until just wilted (20-30 seconds). Transfer to a bowl, add lemon juice, season to taste and set aside.
05   For lemon vinaigrette, add all ingredients in a small bowl, whisk to combine, season to taste and set aside.
06   Preheat a grill to high. Blanch asparagus and peas (2-3 minutes), then refresh. Transfer to a bowl, add vinaigrette and toss to combine.
07   Place yabby tails on a clarified butter-greased tray. Brush with extra clarified butter and spoon a little béarnaise over each. Grill until just golden (1 minute), then divide among plates with wilted greens, asparagus, peas and herbs. Drizzle with bisque and serve immediately.
Note Snow pea leaves (also called shoots), are available from Asian greengrocers.

Recipe:

BRUNO LOUBET

Photography:

PETRINA TINSLAY

Styling:

EMMA KNOWLES

Drinking Suggestion:

CHARDONNAY. , suggested by BRUNO LOUBET

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