I don’t often cook with such glamorous ingredients, but since my Dad brought me two ginormous marron from his friend’s farm I felt I should splash out on the other ingredients – well really just the truffle I bought which cost me $30…but you get the gist.
Marron are the largest freshwater crayfish in Western Australia – and the third largest in the world. They are endemic to south-west WA and they are one of my all-time favourite proteins. In the shops, as big as the sizes we cooked on the weekend, would cost around $40 each. So it goes without saying that I was pretty excited when my Dad dropped them over. Since they were covered in mud (after living in a dam for the past three or so years – given the size of them), we let them hang out in our bathtub over night to get the fresh, clean water running through them – they subsequently woke me up about three times during the night in their futile attempts to escape.
To humanely kill the marron, we put them in our freezer to fall asleep. After about 25 minutes they were motionless and we finished off the job with a sharp knife through the head. It might sound a bit gruesome, but part of understanding food is understanding where it comes from and how to slaughter it, whether it be a cow, pig, sheep or fish – animals deserve respect when their life ends.
So early Sunday morning I sourced a local Manjimup black truffle and some other accompanying goods and set to work on our Sunday feast. Despite Ollie’s hangover, he managed to roll out of bed for lunch when I told him what I was making. To his credit though, I did make him get up to transfer the marron from bathtub to freezer. I am what you would say petrified of them…well at least when they are alive!
So if you ever come across a marron and want to know what to do with it – well, this recipe was pretty darn good. You could also substitute lobster or crayfish (or even scallops would go nicely) seeing as marron are a local West Australian thing…
2 large marron
1 medium sized celeriac, peeled and cut into cubes
1 cup milk
3 asparagus, cut thinly on the diagonal
Black truffle, you will need about 4/5 slices per dish
Dill, to garnish
Salt and pepper
- Into a pot, put your celeriac and milk, cook gently for ten minutes (or until the celeriac is tender). Drain the celeriac, but keep the milk. Blend the celeriac and 50g of the butter, adding a little milk until consistency is smooth and creamy. Keep to one side.
- Into a large pot of rapidly boiling salted water, place your marron. Cook for 5 minutes – or until they are red. Remove immediately and plunge into iced water.
- Remove the claws from the marron, and the tail meat in one piece by twisting off the head and gently removing the outer shell. You will also need to make a shallow incision along its tail to remove the intestinal tract – gently rinse with water to remove any grit.
- In a non-stick pan heat remaining butter and gently cook marron tail and claws for a further minute, in the last thirty seconds add the asparagus. Remove from the heat.
- Plate the dish by layering celeriac, then marron and top with asparagus, shaved truffle, dill and finally a drizzle of the butter the marron cooked in.