„Let’s eat every seafood with a shell on a single evening“ – this idea was born over some glasses of wine with my friends Babsi and Jan. Working at Vienna’s finest fish monger (Fisch-Gruber at the Naschmarkt) it was a nice challenge for me. And everything we ate 🙂
You know what they say: There’s nothing better than a homecooked meal. And we had a lot to cook, so we started off early, since we had bought so much food – and only four stomaches to fill. For starters we had some oysters:
The wild, fresh and salty Fine de Claires from Holland; the meaty, mild and nutty Spéciale Gillardeaus from France; and of course some small taste-bombs – crunchy with a hint of copper, Belons from France. Babsi brought some yuzu-soy-sauce, which was a great addition to the oysters and gave them a fresh touch. I went for a beer pairing, a special edition porter – not such a good idea, since this one had too much coffee notes. Good old guiness would have been better….
As a next course we prepared some sea scallops, a recipy we borrowed from amazing Kuishimbo. This one is very easy to prepare at home – all you need is a blowtorch. We shortly fried the (king oyster) mushrooms in a pan and added some parsley. The raw sea scallops were arranged on a plate and bronzed with the blowtorch – cooking them only half through, which gives you a great taste experience (firm on the upside, waxy on the downside). Then we added the mushrooms and some lemon slices. Again great with yuzu-sauce. The pairing was an amazing flamish oak-aged red ale, Duchesse de Bourgogne, that brought some lambic-beer notes (a nice sourness), notes of citrus fruit and of course soft wood.
Next stop: razor clams. They are really fun – if you know what I mean 🙂 Since Gruber had none, I bought them somewhere else and was disappointed – they had some sand in it. We pan-fried them quickly and added some parsley and olive oil. The firm and aromatic clam-meat was nice!
A quick and tasty intermezzo: Brown sand shrimps (crangon crangon) from North Germany. We added some lemon juice, olive oil, dill, salt/pepper. You can also do this with creme-fraiche, it’s a juicy and tasty snack – to die for with fresh baguette or toast. For drinks we had proceeded to a Chardonnay (Morillon in Styria) by the winery Gross. A dense and elegant wine with wood, tobacco, fresh grass, some lemon and tropical fruits in the background.
From here on it got messy… Living crayfish, the good stuff – wild caught and living. In the afternoon I played a little bit with them and one pinched my finger. Now it was time to get even. It’s very easy to prepare them: Bring water to the boil, crayfish in, boil again and then close heat. Simmer for 3-4 minutes and you’re done.
We enjoyed our crayfish pure, as they are. To be honest, they haven’t that much taste… The intriguing part is, that you have the consistency of a good shrimp with absolutely clean and pure taste. They went well with some japanese high-fat-mayo though 😉 With the crayfish and the following course we had an excellent Sauvignon Blanc by Domaine Ciringa, a massive and dense wine with great acidity, nice herbal notes and intense fruit.
No crustacean carnage without prawns. These „Camarones“ from Argentina have excellent quality, with medium-soft and very aromatic meat. A real delight! We just pan-fried them.
Together with the prawns we had some crab meat. The best comes from Kamtchatka King Crabs – the claws come already half peeled and precooked, so you just have to warm them up. The reward is firm, yet fluffy and tasty meat. Again godful with japanese mayo 🙂
Next level: lobster. And you see – the more wine you drink, the stupider photos you get 🙂 Those two boys are european lobsters (blue ones). One of them had a lot of eggs we collected prior to cooking.
You basically cook them the same way we did it with the crayfish…
For this course we had also a whole, frozen spiny lobster (from the US)….
The lobster caviar was terrible, it was like eating bad oil, no taste (not even fishy) but immensely fat. The lobster on the other hand was (after we got it out of his shell) a revelation: Cooked to the point, pure and clean meat with a subtle and gentle crustacean taste. Best pure or with this feirce japanese mayonnaise again. The spiny lobster wasn’t that good – it had been too long in my freezer and this distinct „freezer“-taste. And the meat had the typical texture of frozen crustacea, like mashed potatoes. With the lobster we had a very distinct Chardonnay, a natural wine by Andreas Tscheppe from Styra. Difficult to approach (though from 2010)…a lot of acidity but hardly fruit. Rather a disappointment.
Until now we’ve had an immense amount of proteine. To help our bodies deal with that, we went for some noodles. Logical course of action after 7 courses. We had bought some amazing fresh, handmade linguine by Pasta e Basta. They were served with a light sauce of morels, peas and cream. AMAZING! With the pasta we had a great Chablis 1er Cru Beauroy, a very elegant wine with flowers and mandarins in the nose and a very silky texture on the tongue, that fitted great with the morels. A great high point to our carnage!
Here again our wine/beer pairing.
After dinner the real work started, since we made a stock out of the leftovers. We had a lot of shells, two lobster bodies and some prawn stuff. So we put all that in a pan, roasted it a bit and then cooked approx 1 hour it with water and some herbs. After that we got out the shells. Then it was reduced over several hours to 3 liters of liquid. The outcome was an amazing stock, great for risotto and the like. Our flat smelled like a fish monger for weeks though 🙂
A great evening, with great company – I hope you got inspired at some point.