Ah marron, sweet sweet delicious juicy marron, how much I love you. But sadly, if you don’t live in Western Australia or on Kangaroo Island in South Australia you might struggle to find one of these tasty freshwater shellfish – so substitute with prawns, crayfish, lobster or even scallops for an indulgent and super fancy meal. Perfect with a glass (or bottle) of white, a good friend and a carefree Spring afternoon.
I love this shellfish, in fact I have used it before on the blog, and jump at the opportunity to cook with it. Most of the time we catch and cook them at a family friend’s farm in the south west of Western Australia. Then they are par-poached and finished off by cooking in (a lot) of butter in a pan over the campfire and even as they are…no sides, no fuss, pure indulgence.
While you literally can’t go wrong with the orange/fennel combination – I used blood oranges since they are in season and totally delicious. This is a fresh, easy and vibrant salad which doesn’t detract from the subtle flavour of the marron. It will have you winning friends in no time.
2 marron (mine were about 450gms each which is really large, so if you use smaller ones you will need to reduce the cooking time)
½ fennel bulb, finely sliced on a mandolin, fennel fronds reserved
1 blood orange, segmented
½ red apple
1 large handful of watercress
¼ cup olive oil, more to taste
1 blood orange, zested and juiced
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon honey
Sea salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Julienne your apple and squeeze over some lemon juice to prevent from browning, mix with fennel, watercress and orange segments and refrigerate
- Make citronette dressing by coming the olive oil, blood orange juice and ¼ tsp of the zest, Dijon, honey, salt and pepper. Mix well. (I measure my ingredients into a jar, close the lid and shake baby shake to get a properly combined dressing)
- Into a large pot of rapidly boiling salted water, place your marron. Cook for 5-6 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. If you do not manage to pull out the intestinal tract in one motion when you remove the tail shell, you will need to make a shallow incision along the tail to remove it – gently rinse with water to remove any grit
- To serve, slice marron tails into medallions and lay on top of salad ingredients. Sprinkle over some of the reserved fennel fronds and drizzle over citronette dressing
*Tip – you might like to add a few toasted almonds or hazelnuts for an extra layer of flavour.
*Tip – humanely kill you marron by putting them to “sleep” in your freezer (10 minutes is usually long enough) before you cook them. I also run a sharp knife through the animal’s brain once I have removed it from the freezer.