• Lobster beurre blanc (Adam Liaw)Source: Adam Liaw

There are a few steps to completing this dish but it's well worth it in the end. The crayfish meat is extracted from the shell and slowly poached in a beurre blanc made from the head mustard of the cray. The trick here is to not cook the cray meat for too long as it will start to really firm up.






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  • 1 whole raw crayfish, about 600 g, killed humanely (see note)
  • chargrilled sourdough and asparagus, to serve

Beurre blanc

  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ large brown onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 long red chilli, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 tsp tomato paste
  • 200 ml white wine
  • 30 ml champagne vinegar
  • 250 g cold salted butter, diced
  • salt and black pepper, to taste
  • ¼ bunch basil stems, ripped
  • 1 lemon, rind finely grated and juiced

Cook's notes

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.


  1. Preheat the oven to 180˚C. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil and season with salt so it tastes like the ocean. Place the crayfish into the boiling water for 45 seconds, then remove. This will separate the flesh from the shell, but we want to be careful not to cook the meat.
  2. When cool enough to handle, turn the crayfish upside down and make an incision where the tail meets the carapace. Carefully cut around the tail, twist and remove - all of the head meat should come out with the tail. Take the head and remove the mustard (the yellow or red stuff inside the head cavity) place in a bowl, for later.
  3. Take the tail and turn it upside down. Using a pair of kitchen scissors, cut along either side of the underbelly where it meets the hard shell, trim off the end and remove the crayfish meat. Dice into 2 cm chunks. Place the shell, still upside down, into the head. This will make a "cray boat" to serve the dish in. Place on a baking tray and roast for 10 minutes, then remove from the oven and set aside.
  4. Meanwhile, for the beurre blanc, heat the olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook the onion, garlic and chilli until soft. Add the tomato paste and cook until it turns a deeper red colour and starts sticking to the pan. Deglaze with the white wine, then add the vinegar and simmer for 5 minutes.
  5. Reduce the heat to low, add the mustard and stir continuously for 2-3 minutes or until thickened. The mustard has a really high protein content so it will have similar characteristics to egg, so be careful not to scramble it. Remove from the heat, then transfer to a blender and process until smooth and velvety.
  6. Transfer the mixture in the blender to a saucepan and place over medium heat. Whisking continuously, gradually start to add the butter, a little at a time until emulsified. Season the mixture heavily, then add the crayfish meat and cook for a couple of minutes or just until cooked through. Add the basil, lemon zest and juice and stir to combine.
  7. Serve the crayfish in the cray boat on a large platter with charred sourdough and charred asparagus.


• To dispatch of the crayfish humanely, place in the freezer for 1 hour or into an ice slurry for 15 minutes prior to cooking.

Adam Liaw cooks, laughs, and explores culture with some of Australia's most beloved in The Cook Up With Adam Liaw.

Photography by Adam Liaw.