Shellfish Sauce

Ingredients for 4 to 6 servings

Recipes - Hot Kitchen

Figure 1

THE LIGHT SHELLFISH SAUCE: 1.1lbs (500g) crabs, velvety swimming crabs, or the heads of 18 crayfish, 10/12 size Dublin Bay prawns (langoustines or scampi), 3 1/2 oz (100g) butter (total), 6 Tbsp (1dl) white wine, 6 Tbsp (1dl) fish stock, 1 1/5cup (3dl) heavy (whipping) cream, 6 Tbsp (1dl) cognac, salt and pepper to taste.

THE CLASSIC SHELLFISH SAUCE: 1 lb (500g): Shellfish (small crabs, velvety swimming crabs, Dublin bay prawns or crayfish heads), olive oil, 2 shallots, finely diced (mirepoix), 1/2 onion cut into small dice, 1 stalk celery cut into small l dice, 5 Tbsp (7cl) cognac, 1 cup (2.5dl) white wine, 2 cups (5dl) fish stock, 3 Tbsp tomato paste, 2 fresh tomatoes cut into pieces, 2 cloves garlic, crushed, bouquet garni, salt, pepper, 3 1/2 oz (50g) butter combined with 1 3/4 oz (50g) flour to make a "worked butter" (beurre manie), fresh butter to finish, 6 Tbsp (1dl) creme fraiche or heavy cream (optional).


FISH STOCK (about 6 cups or 1.5L): 2 1/4 lbs (1 kg) fish bones (sole, turbot, or flounder); 2 qts (2 L) water, 4/5 cup (2dl) white wine; 1 small onion, 1 carrot, 1/2 leek, 1/2 stick celery, and a few mushrooms, all sliced; a few white peppercorns, bouquet garni.

THE RECIPE THE LIGHT SAUCE: Rapidly sautee the coarsely crushed crabs, swimming crabs or heads in part of the butter. Flame with cognac, add the white wine and reduce by 3/4. Add the fish stock, reduce by 2/3, pour in the cream, bring to a boil and simmer gently for 10 to 12 minutes. Strain through a conical sieve, strongly crushing the solids to extract all the juices. Reduce if necessary. Whisk in the remaining butter, adjust the seasoning and reserve.

THE CLASSIC SAUCE: Coarsely chop whole crabs, swimming crabs or simply the heads of Dublin bay prawns or crayfish.

In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over high heat. When it is almost smoking, add the chopped shellfish, allow to colour, then add the shallot, onion, and celery. Allow to cook slowly, then flame with the cognac, add the white wine, fish stock, tomato paste and fresh tomatoes, cloves of garlic, bouquet garni, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Skim well, then cover and allow to cook at a for 20 minutes.

TO FINISH: Strain the liquid through a conical sieve then place back over heat, bring to a boil and thicken gradually by whisking in the worked butter until the desired consistency is obtained. Taste for seasoning, whisk in a little fresh butter and the cream, if using, then strain once more through a fine-meshed strainer.