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Anniversary dinner

July 23, 2012

We celebrated our wedding anniversary at the weekend but as we’d eaten out four times in the previous five days, we decided to dine at home. For special occasions, that generally involves a luxury item or two so the choice was a couple of King Island cray tails.

Aptus Seafoods at South Melbourne Market often has these. They are sold uncooked. There are no heads or claws to contend with so, apart from the shell, everything is edible.

I bought a couple weighing in at around 550g and I couldn’t resist the oysters that were being shucked on the spot so I got a dozen – six each of two varieties. I think they were from Tasmania and South Australia.

The fishmongers there have told me the cray tails are pretty good grilled on the barbecue but it’s chilly on our balcony at the moment so I cooked them both in boiling salted water laced with a couple of knots of lemongrass. I gave them a quick rest in some cold water before halving the tails lengthwise, pulling out the meat and chopping it then laying it on some small cos lettuce leaves.

Cray tails

I don’t like doing too much more with these crays. They have such a sweet and subtle flavour it seems a pity to mask them in a strong dressing so we settled for a little salt and lemon juice.

The oyster starters didn’t need much attention, either – just a few drops of balsamic vinegar and a little lemon. One lot were sweet, the other salty and both redolent of the sea.

The Spouse had asked for an Asian-flavoured salad to go with the crayfish. That translated into a mixed salad with a sweet, sour, salty, hot dressing – lemongrass, garlic, fish sauce, oyster sauce, a little soy, some tomato sauce, a dash of chilli paste, a little palm sugar, some ginger, a touch of sesame oil all thoroughly chopped and mixed in a mini-blender and refrigerated until needed.

His other request was avocado and the one we picked at the market was in peak condition, the flesh just yielding and unblemished. The halves were dressed with some wild lime-infused olive oil from Green Olive on the Mornington Peninsula, a squeeze of lemon and some salt and freshly ground pepper.

The salad was full of fresh vegetables and herbs and we certainly dined well, with the assistance of a bottle of Bollinger.

A small cheeseboard and a Tarrawarra chardonnay completed the feast.

You’ll note there was virtually no cooking involved. That was the best part!


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