Steamed Crayfish Mousse Wrapped in Lettuce

Preparation info

  • Serves


    • Difficulty


Appears in

A Feast of Fish

A Feast of Fish

By Ian McAndrew

Published 1989

  • About


  • 30 live crayfish
  • 225 g/8 oz fillet of monkfish, trimmed
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 1 egg, separated
  • 350 ml/12 fl oz double cream
  • 1.2 litres/2 pints court bouillon
  • 300 ml/½ pint crayfish sauce
  • 1 large lettuce
  • 50 g/2 oz cold butter


    To make the mousse, cut the monkfish up into small pieces and blend in a food processor or blender until smooth. Add the salt and egg white and process again until it stiffens. Rub the mixture through a sieve into a bowl set on crushed ice. Gradually add half the cream then put the mixture in the refrigerator until needed.

    Bring the court bouillon to the boil. Remove the intestinal tract from the crayfish by pinching the middle section of the tail between your forefinger and thumb, then twist and pull. Plunge the crayfish into the bouillon, cover with a lid and cook for 3 minutes. Drain and allow to cool. Shell the crayfish tails, but leave 6 with their heads still on and save for garnish. Make the crayfish sauce from the shells. Cut the 24 tails into 5 mm/¼ inch dice and mix these into the mousse.

    Reduce half of the crayfish sauce until only about a quarter of its original volume remains. Make sure that you stir the sauce while it is reducing or it will stick and burn. Allow the sauce to go cold, then mix into the mousse along with the egg yolk. Test the mousse; it should hold together but not be too rubbery. If it is too rubbery, add a little more cream and test again until you are happy with both the texture and flavour. Store the mousse in the refrigerator until ready to use.

    Gently remove each leaf of lettuce from the head, wash well, then blanch in boiling salted water for 10 seconds. Refresh in iced water, drain and dry well in a cloth.

    To assemble the mousse moulds, either take a small, shallow, bowl-shaped coffee cup or an 85 ml/3 fl oz ladle and line with 2 layers of lettuce, leaving an overhang all the way round. Fill with mousse and fold the overhanging lettuce over to make a completely sealed ball. Repeat this 5 more times, using up all the mousse.

    To cook, lay the balls in a steaming basket set over boiling water and steam for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, bring the remaining crayfish sauce to the boil, add the rest of the cream and return to the boil. Reduce until the sauce starts to thicken, then turn the heat down to very low and gradually whisk in the butter and continue whisking until it has all melted.