Crawfish Baked in a Salt Crust

Most of the dishes we had in Tasmania were pretty alfresco affairs, uncomplicated and delicious. But I thought it would be a good idea to include a rather sophisticated dish cooked by a pal of mine, John T. Bailey, who is Head Chef at the Sheraton in Hobart.


  • 2 × 450 g (1 lb) crawfish (otherwise known as spiny lobster and, confusingly, crayfish, but these are not the same as the delicate freshwater crayfish)
  • 1 kg ( lb) rock salt
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 1 cm (½ pint) piece of fresh root ginger, finely grated
  • few sprigs of fresh herbs (for example, oregano, basil, marjoram, parsley or thyme), chopped
  • 4–5 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • egg noodles, cooked
  • selection of fresh vegetables, cut into julienne strips (for example, carrots, peppers, leeks, courgettes, parsnips)


First, kill your crawfish. Better still, get someone to do it for you. The most humane way to do it yourself is to boil up about 4 litres (8 pints) water. Keep it boiling fiercely and plunge in the crawfish, one at a time, for about 20 seconds.

Transfer the crawfish to a large roasting pan and cover completely with rock salt. Bake in a preheated oven, 200°C/400°F (gas mark 6), for 25 minutes, until cooked. Allow to cool for a few minutes, then remove the meat from the shell, cutting the tail meat into thin slices. Mix together the garlic, ginger, chopped fresh herbs and soy sauce, stirring well.

Put the cooked egg noodles on to a warmed serving plate and arrange the crawfish alongside. Blanch the vegetables in boiling water for a few seconds and serve with the noodles. Pour the soy sauce dressing over the crawfish and serve immediately.