Arroz con Bogavante

Rice with Crayfish

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Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • 4

    Raciones

Appears in

MoVida Rustica

By Frank Camorra and Richard Cornish

Published 2009

  • About

IT WAS OFF SEASON IN THE LITTLE FISHING TOWN OF CAMBADOS AND EVERY RESTAURANT MY CHEF PALS HAD RECOMMENDED WAS CLOSED. I WAS AFTER ARROZ CON BOGAVANTE — A MOIST RICE DISH WITH LOBSTER. THE GALICIANS, LIKE OTHER SPANIARDS, ALWAYS MAKE THE MOST OF AN EXPENSIVE INGREDIENT SUCH AS CRAYFISH, AND IN THIS DISH THEY USE EVERY SINGLE PART AND INTENSIFY THE FLAVOUR BY FRYING THE SHELL WITH HERBS AND GARLIC TO MAKE A RICH STOCK. THE ONLY PLACE DOING ANYTHING MORE THAN BAR FOOD WAS THE PARADOR, THE LOCAL ARM OF THE STATE-OWNED LUXURY HOTEL CHAIN. I WAS THE ONLY PERSON IN THE DINING ROOM. WHEN THE WAITER, DRESSED IN WHITE SHIRT, TIE AND WAISTCOAT, DELIVERED THE GREAT PAN IN FRONT OF ME AND STARTED THE SILVER-SERVICE TREATMENT I FELT A MOMENT OF ABSURDITY. BUT THE ARROZ CON BOGAVANTE WAS GOOD. THE RICE HAD TAKEN ON THE FLAVOUR OF THE SEAFOOD WITHOUT LOSING ITS OWN EARTHY IDENTITY, WHILE THE VEGETABLES AND HERBS SAT IN THE BACKGROUND. TWO LOBSTER TAILS HAD BEEN FINISHED IN THE OVEN AND WERE PERFECTLY DONE.

Ingredients

  • 2 live freshwater crayfish, about 200 g (7 oz) each
  • 130 ml (4 fl oz/½ cup) olive oil
  • 1 garlic bulb, halved, plus 3 cloves, roughly chopped
  • a few thyme sprigs
  • 4 ripe tomatoes, peeled (see glossary) and puréed
  • 500 ml (17 fl oz/2 cups) white wine
  • 1 brown onion, diced
  • 300 g (10½ oz/1⅓ cups) bomba rice (see glossary)

Method

Put the crayfish to sleep by freezing them for 30 minutes. Using a large sharp knife or cleaver, split the crayfish in half lengthways. Reserve the coral. Remove the heads and small legs, and keep the tails and large claws separate.

Heat 50 ml ( fl oz) of the olive oil in a large heavy-based pan over high heat. Add the crayfish heads and small legs, the halved garlic bulb and the thyme sprigs. Cook, stirring often, for 15 minutes. Add 125 ml (4 fl oz/½ cup) of the tomato purée, half the wine and 1 litre (35 fl oz/4 cups) cold water. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 2 hours.

Meanwhile, cut the crayfish tails in half lengthways and, using the back of a cleaver, lightly crack the claws. Heat the remaining olive oil in a perol or large ovenproof frying pan over high heat and cook the tail pieces and claws for 2–3 minutes, or until the shells change colour, stirring frequently. Season to taste, then remove from the pan and set aside.

Reduce the heat to medium, add the onion and a pinch of salt and sauté for 5–6 minutes, or until soft. Add the chopped garlic cloves and sauté for another 2 minutes, then stir in the remaining tomato purée and simmer for 30 minutes. Add the remaining wine, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for another 20–30 minutes, or until the sauce is thick and dark. Remove from the heat.

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4).

Strain the hot crayfish stock through a fine sieve; add 900 ml (33 fl oz) to the tomato purée mixture (add some hot water if necessary to make up the amount). Bring to the boil over high heat, scatter with the rice and a good pinch of salt and stir. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.

Add the tails and claws to the pan, transfer to the oven and bake for 10–15 minutes, or until the rice is al dente. Remove from the heat and allow to stand for a few minutes before serving.