Crayfish Caesar Salad (with Swedish Crayfish from Ikea)
One day in the Ikea’s Swedish food section, I discovered that every August, the Swedes celebrate their crayfish season by having crayfish parties where you basically gather around, eat a whole load of boiled crayfish and drink a tonne of booze. The Swedish sure know how to party!
Ikea was* selling boxes of frozen crayfish prepared Swedish style. That is, boiled in ridiculous amount of salted water and flavoured with dill. Who am I to resist such weird and wonderful frozen food from Ikea? The box contained a tray of crayfish frozen in what seemed to be dirty, muddy water but that didn’t put me off.
What can I say? It’s crayfish. It’s salty. It’s weird. It’s wonderful. And you have to suck its head out. What more could you ask for? The interesting factor is there. The taste isn’t so bad albeit on the salty side. It’s like eating yabbies. Lots of them.
Since I am totally in love with Annabel Langbein’s the Free Range Cook series on ABC iView. I thought I might use up a box of crayfish to make this Crayfish Caesar Salad. The only disappointing thing is once you peel down a box of crayfish ($20) – you only get a bowlful of crayfish meat or so. I guess eating a pile of them together makes them seem to last longer!
This salad is absolutely gorgeous and I will be making it again and again. Below is what I have adapted from Annabel’s recipe.
Salad for 2-3 (as a light meal):
- 1 head of cos lettuce, washed and torn into bite-sized pieces
- 1.5 kg cooked unshelled crayfish, peeled
- Optional poached egg per person (I had this and it was great)
- 1 French stick (I used generic multi-grain French stick from Coles, it was fine)
- 1 clove garlic, lightly crushed
- a light drizzling of extra virgin olive oil
Cut the French stick into about 1.5cm slices crosswise. Drizzle one side of each slice very lightly with olive oil using your finger to spread the oil around (sure you can use a pastry brush but then you’ll have to wash it). Rub the crushed clove of garlic on each slice but don’t leave any garlic pieces on.
Bake in the 180’c oven (if you have fan-forced oven, turn it on) for about 20-30 minutes. Test by breaking a piece in half. It should be brittle enough to break easily and look even browned.
Creamy Seafood Dressing:
- 1 tsp olive oil or butter
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 5 tinned, salted anchovies in oil, drained
- 3 heap dessertspoons of double cream (or 1/2 cup of normal cream)
- 3 tbsp grated parmesan
Add about a teaspoon of olive oil or butter to a non-stick frying pan and fry the garlic on low heat for a minute or so. Don’t let it colour. Add anchovies to cook for about a minute until they melt. Use a wooden spoon to mash them together and add cream. Bring the sauce to boil and simmer for 2-3 minutes until the cream has reduced by half. Add grated parmesan.
Putting it all together:
Dress the salad leaves with 4-5 tbsp of the dressing until nicely coated. Taste and add more if needed. Add crayfish and croutons. Top with a poached egg if you’re having it. Annabel didn’t specify poached eggs but I had it to make the meal slightly more substantial and it was great.
* I was last at Ikea a couple of weeks ago, and they were still selling them. I guess Australians didn’t find them interesting enough.
This time last year I made:Spaghetti with Asparagus, Broccoli, Lemon and Shallot