Marron are one of the largest freshwater crayfish in the world and are native to Western Australia. Extreme care must be taken with live marron if they are being prepared outside of WA. The live trade of marron is tightly regulated in Victoria and it means that they are not freely available as there is concern that if they escaped and entered waterways they would pose a risk to our native Victorian crustaceans by competing for food sources and habitat.

Serves
4

Preparation

30min

Cooking

30min

Skill level

Ace
By
9
Average: 4.3 (3 votes)
Yum

Ingredients

Oyster sauce

  • 150 g (5½ oz) freshly shucked oyster meat (and 125 ml/4 fl oz/½ cup juices reserved from shucking)
  • 375 ml (13 fl oz/1½ cups) water
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • ½ spring onion (scallion)
  • 5 g ginger, crushed
  • 2.5 g white sugar
  • 35 ml (1¼ fl oz) thin soy sauce
  • 10 ml (⅓ fl oz) water, extra
  • 2.5 g cornflour (cornstarch)

Seaweed broth

  • 500 ml (17 fl oz/2 cups) light pork stock 
  • 4 g dried kombu
  • 1 g bonito
  • 15 ml (½ fl oz) dry sherry
  • 70 ml (2¼ fl oz) thin soy sauce
  • table salt, to taste

Marron

  • 2 x 250 g (9 oz) live marrons, chilled (see note)
  • 2 ml grape seed oil
  • table salt, to taste
  • 2 ml lemon juice

To finish

  • 1–2 g red rose powder (see note)
  • 4 slices cured beef (bresaola)
  • 4 pieces wild sea lettuce, torn
  • 12 pieces wild sea succulent
  • table salt, to taste

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.

Instructions

To make the oyster sauce, place the oyster meat and juices, the first measure of water, the garlic, spring onion and ginger in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 20 minutes on a gentle heat with the lid half on. Add the sugar and soy sauce. Mix the second measure of water with the cornflour and whisk into the sauce. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring regularly until the sauce thickens slightly. Pass through a fine sieve, discarding the solids. Cool and refrigerate until needed.

To make the seaweed broth, heat the pork stock to 80°C (176°F). Add the kombu and infuse for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the bonito. Infuse for 5 minutes, then pass through a sieve lined with muslin (cheesecloth). Season with the sherry, soy sauce and salt.

When ready to serve, kill the marrons by swiftly cutting through the centre line of the head and thorax with a sharp chef’s knife. This is the most humane way to kill a crustacean that I know of. Twist the tail from the head and blanch the tail in a saucepan of boiling water for 30 seconds - this will allow you to remove the tail meat from the shell cleanly. Using a pair of heavy kitchen scissors, carefully snip along both sides of the tail to remove the meat from the shell. Place the tail meat in a vacuum pouch with the oil and vacuum-pack on 100 per cent for 30 seconds in a chamber vacuum sealer. Place the bag in a circulating water bath (or saucepan filled with water) heated to 60°C (140°F) and leave for 6 minutes. Halve each marron lengthways, and season with salt and lemon juice.

To finish, place a small dot of the rose powder off-centre on each warmed plate. Add 1 small tsp of oyster sauce alongside and place the marron on top. Place a slice of cured beef on each plate and garnish with the sea lettuce and sea succulent. Heat the broth and pour into four serving jugs.

Pour the broth tableside directly onto the red rose powder.

Notes
• It is always best to humanely kill and consume crustaceans as soon as they have been harvested. All live crustaceans should be held at a temperature of -2°C (28°F) until completely chilled before killing. When their temperature is reduced, they become less sensitive.

• To make red rose powder, place organic unsprayed red rose petals in a food dehydrator (see below) at 50°C (122°F) for 2 hours, then grind into a fine powder using a mortar and pestle.

Recipe from Origin: The Food of Ben Shewry by Ben Shewry, with photographs by Colin Page. Published by Murdoch Books.