2live crawfish or spiny lobsters of 500g (1lb2oz) each or one of 1kg (2lb4oz)
20g (¾oz) butter
150ml (¼pint) whipping cream
1teaspoonsweet Hungarian paprika
1tablespoon chopped shallot
1 small sprigtarragon
4tablespoonsdry white wine
1tablespoon chopped chervil
Despatch the crawfish in the way recommended. Chop it in two lengthways with a cleaver. Remove the sac from the head.
Melt the butter with the chopped shallot in a large sauté pan, and when the shallot has softened, add the paprika, mixing it in well to break up any little lumps. Stir in the tomato puree. Place the pieces of crawfish, flesh downwards, in the sauce and let them seal over a moderate heat before flaming with the cognac to sear the shells. Pour in the wine and add the sprig of tarragon, then turn the crawfish halves over, so that they are shell side downwards, cover the pan and cook over a slow heat for 20 minutes if you have 2 crawfish and 30 minutes if you have only one. Take care that the liquid in the pan does not reduce too far: if it does, add 1 or 2tablespoons of water.
When they are cooked, remove the crawfish. Remove the tail shells and put the halves in two deep plates. Keep hot.
Return the pan to the heat and reduce the liquid to 1 or 2tablespoons. Add 150ml (¼pint) cream and boil for 5 minutes to thicken the sauce. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper if necessary. Strain the sauce through a fine wire sieve and add the chervil. Pour over the crawfish and serve with plain boiled rice.
a dry white wine, slightly fruity, perhaps a Pouilly fumé, a Sancerre, a Montrachet, a Puligny or a White Mâcon