Ragoût of crayfish, girolles, fregola pasta, courgettes and watercress cream
For the ragoût
- 16 live crayfish
- 200g/7oz fregola pasta (very small pasta shapes, available from some Italian delis)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 110g/4oz girolle mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
- 2 shallots, sliced thinly
- 2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 500ml/17fl oz crayfish stock (made from the crayfish shells above), or alternatively use ready-made fish stock
- 25g/1oz butter
- 1 courgette, cut into small cubes and salted in a colander
- handful fresh flatleaf parsley, roughly chopped
- ½ lemon, juice only
For the watercress cream
For the ragoût, bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and add the crayfish. Boil for one minute, then drain and leave to cool slightly. Crack open the shells and remove the tail meat. Reserve the shells and set the tail meat aside.
Place the reserved crayfish shells into a pan and cover with 750ml/1¼ pints water. Bring to the boil and boil until reduced by a third (you will need 500ml/17fl oz of crayfish stock). Strain through a sieve into a clean bowl and set aside.
Bring another pan of salted water to the boil. Add the fregola pasta and cook for five minutes. Drain and set aside.
Heat a frying pan until hot, add the olive oil and the crayfish tails and fry for 20 seconds. Add the girolles, shallots and thyme and season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Fry for one minute.
Add the crayfish stock and bring to the boil.
Stir in the butter. Rinse the courgettes of the excess salt and add to the pan, along with the parsley. Season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper, add the lemon juice and stir.
Meanwhile, for the watercress cream, bring a pan of salted water to the boil and blanch the watercress. Drain and refresh in iced water.
Place the drained watercress into a food processor and blend to a purée.
Place the cream into a bowl and whisk until soft peaks form when the whisk is removed. Add the watercress purée to the bowl and fold in. Season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
To serve, divide the ragoût among four serving bowls and spoon over the watercress cream.