"Indigenous to Australian and hailing from the Sunshine coast, the redclaw crayfish was always considered the poorer cousin of the West Australian Marron and less flavoursome than the yabby. But the reality is that when treated and farmed correctly this beautiful crayfish sits with any other for its firm flesh and sweet flavour." Peter Kuruvita, Peter Kuruvita's Coastal Kitchen
- 3 live redclaw crayfish
- 1 lemonade fruit
- 30 ml melted coconut oil
- 1 small bunch Russian kale, stems discarded
- 1 small onion, finely diced
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 2 red chillies, halved lengthways, seeded and cut into julienne
- 2 green chillies, halved lengthways, seeded and cut into julienne
- 1 spring onion, green end only, thinly sliced on the diagonal
- ¾ cup Szechuan peppercorns
- 1 small handful star anise
- 1 small handful cloves
- 3 cinnamon sticks, broken up into pieces
- 4 dried red chillies
- 130 g (1 cup) sea salt
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
To euthanise the crayfish humanely, place them in the freezer for 15 minutes to put them to sleep before preparing.
Meanwhile, to make the Szechuan salt, preheat the oven to 180°C. Place all the ingredients except the salt on a baking tray and roast for 7 minutes. Transfer to a mortar and pestle or spice grinder and grind until a fine powder forms, then stir in the salt and set aside.
Preheat a barbecue flat-plate to high. Using a large sharp knife or cleaver, cut the crayfish in half lengthways and remove the innards but don’t wash them. Use the back of the knife or cleaver to crack the large claws.
Zest the lemonade fruit and set aside, then peel the lemon and cut off the white pith. Working over a bowl with a sieve on top to catch the juice, cut in between the segments, taking out the flesh only.
Sprinkle a little Szechuan salt over the crayfish flesh and drizzle with a little coconut oil. Place them, flesh-side down on the preheated grill and cook for 3-4 minutes or until the shells start to change colour. Turn the crayfish over and place the kale leaves on top to wilt for 1-2 minutes, then remove the crayfish from the grill, keeping them flesh-side up.
Add another drizzle of coconut oil to the barbecue flat- plate and cook the onion and garlic until just soft. Add the wilted kale, lemon juice and zest, salt and pepper to taste and toss for 1-2 minutes. Spread the kale over a platter, then arrange the red claws on top with a lemon segment in each. Scatter with the chilli and spring onion and serve immediately.
• Szechuan salt will keep in an airtight container in a cool, dark place for up to 6 months.
Photography by Dan Freene. Food preparation by Peter Kuruvita/Cody Fahey.