Marron, finger lime, native herbs

Marron, finger lime, native herbs

By
From
Finding Fire
Serves
4

Marron are freshwater crayfish endemic to Australia. Primarily farmed in dams, but also found in billabongs, they have a sweet, delicate, almost nutty flavour. They have translucent flesh that firms and turns opaque when cooked. While the shell of a live marron can vary from greenish black to electric blue, its colourful transition to bright orange when cooked is magical to watch.

The way to do justice to live seafood is by handling it with respect, killing it just prior to eating it and grilling it perfectly. When you source live seafood and kill it yourself, not only do you have a greater appreciation of the animal, but it tastes better as a result, too.

We opened Firedoor with this dish and it instantly became a firm favourite, capturing my philosophy of native ingredients speaking for themselves through the medium of fire. At the restaurant, we encourage our guests to appreciate the whole marron, including the sweet flesh from the claws as well as the succulent tail, and to combine these with the brain, coral, liver and the juices, which set to form a creamy custard. These elements combine well with the salty succulence of the native beach herbs and the fresh citrus pop of the finger lime.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
4 live marron (see note)
sea salt
4 finger limes (if out of season, use blood limes)
60ml fruity, mild extra-virgin olive oil, such as arbequina or koroneiki, warmed
200g mixed beach herbs, such as barilla and seablite

Method

  1. 1. Prepare your embers.
  2. 2. Kill the live marron using the ike-jime method (see Note) and split lengthways on a tray to catch the juices. Carefully remove the intestinal tract and discard.
  3. 3. Arrange a grill approximately 15 cm (6 in) above the embers.
  4. 4. Place the marron on the grill, shell side down, and pour the juices back into the head cavity. Season with sea salt.
  5. 5. Grill for approximately 3–4 minutes, at which point the delicate translucent flesh will turn opaque and the shell bright orange. The juices in the head should begin to set, forming a delicate custard.
  6. 6. Meanwhile, grill the finger limes for 1 minute, to release their essential oils. Split the finger limes lengthways and gently squeeze them between your finger and thumb to remove the vesicles.
  7. 7. In a small saucepan, warm the olive oil. Remove the marron from the grill and drizzle with the olive oil. Place the grilled finger lime vesicles in the head cavity of the marron.
  8. 8. Garnish with the beach herbs and serve immediately.

NOTES

  • Live marron, like all live crustaceans, deteriorate rapidly and should be consumed as soon as possible after purchase. Place in a covered, well-ventilated container lined with a damp cloth and keep in a cool place (between 6–16°C/40–60°F).

    To kill humanely, chill the marron to 1°C (35°F) either in a refrigerator or by placing them in a freezer for 10 minutes. This renders them insensible. Execute the marron using the ike-jime method: swiftly insert the point of a sharp knife in the middle of the head, which is naturally indicated by a cross.
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