Classic Crayfish Mornay Recipe


SpotX Wild Foods Recipe from Grant Dixon
Prep:1 hour Cook:20 minutes Difficulty:3

  • 1 800 gram fresh crayfish.
  • 2 lemons.
  • 6 parsley stalks.
  • 1 teaspoon cracked pepper.
  • ½ small cup of salt.
  • 40 grams butter.
  • 200ml mornay sauce.
  • Approximately ½ egg yolk.
  • 2 tablespoons of cream.
  • 1 curly lettuce.
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan.
  • Add half a lemon, parsley, pepper and salt to a pot of boiling water.
  • Place crayfish in the boiling water, cover and return to the boil.
  • Simmer for 20 minutes, set aside to cool and rest the meat.
  • Make the mornay sauce as per recipe in this section.
  • Turn the crayfish upside down and carefully cut in half lengthways.
  • Remove tail meat and clean out mustard and intestines.
  • Cut tail meat into 1-2cm cubes.
  • Heat butter in a large frying pan until it starts to froth.
  • Add the meat, season, turning quickly, only cooking for 1 minute.
  • Add the mornay sauce and bring to boil, take off the heat.
  • Combine the egg yolk and cream, whisk and add to the sauce.
  • Lay crayfish shell on an oven tray, cut side up.
  • Place a little sauce on the bottom of the cavity.
  • Arrange meat along the length of the crayfish shell.
  • Cover with more sauce and sprinkle with the Parmesan.
  • Place under an oven grill on medium to high until top starts to brown.






 If there is a species that has been put on a pedestal as the pinnacle of Kiwi kaimoana, it is the spiny red rock lobster – crayfish. Over the years it has earned millions in overseas exchange and has made many of the commercial fishers, lucky enough to hold quota, rich men. Its dollar value sees the species, along with paua, at the head of the poachers’ hit list. In some regions it is estimated the ‘black market’ take is almost as high as the legitimate commercial harvest, both far surpassing the recreational catch. Despite the pressure on the fishery, crayfish still remains available to Joe Public provided they are prepared to put in the effort diving or potting for them. To many people a highlight of their holiday programme is to catch a few ‘bugs’ for the table.
The beauty of crayfish is that it can be prepared in so many different ways; its rich flesh requires little enhancement.
Like all seafood, crayfish benefit from taking a little care from the time they are caught to when they are served up. Once caught, the crayfish should be placed in a cool, damp spot. They will live for several days out of the water if kept cold and wet.


Most people prefer to deal with the catch as soon as practical. The first step is to kill the crayfish humanely by drowning it in a bin of cold fresh water. Placing a live crayfish directly into boiling water will result in the legs falling off more easily. 
If you intend ‘cooking’ the crayfish immediately by boiling it, there are some simple steps to take to bring the best out of your catch. It is important to bring the water to a rolling boil before placing the crayfish in it. Do not overload the pot as it takes too long to bring it back on the boil; keeping the lid on the pot helps with this. Time the crayfish once the water starts to boil. The ‘just legal’ crayfish should be boiled for no longer than six minutes, and up to 12 minutes for ‘monster’ four-kilo-plus crayfish.
Once time is up take the crayfish out of the pot and place in a tub of cold water to halt the cooking process, then remove and leave to drain. A good way to do this is to hook the curled-up tails on the rim of a bucket.
Once cooled and the flesh set, the tail can be twisted free of the body and sliced lengthwise with a sharp, sturdy knife to split it. The alimentary canal will be exposed and this should be removed. Similarly the body can be sliced lengthwise in two, exposing the ‘engine room’. The yellow ‘mustard’ can be removed and used to give flavour to any sauce.
To many people, sucking the sweet morsels out of the legs and body is every bit as good as the tail meat. Use a nutcracker or a purposebuilt lobster claw cracking tool to crack the shell.









Copyright © 2022 Spot X Publications Ltd. All Rights Reserved