Grilled Crayfish with Coriander Butter & Tomato Salsa

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Preparation info

  • For


    Main Courses
    • Difficulty


Appears in

The Sugar Club Cookbook

By Peter Gordon

Published 1997

  • About

In New Zealand we went crayfishing a lot as a family. We caught them at Cape Palliser in cray-pots or when snorkeling up at the Coromandel at Christmas. In Europe the term for this marine shellfish is ‘spiny lobster’. For this recipe you can use either crayfish or lobster. It is essential that they are alive when you buy them, as this way you’ll know they’re fresh. To kill them humanely weigh them down in a large bucket of very cold tap water for 4 hours and they will drown (they cannot survive in non-salt water). Hold them flat on a chopping board with their tails out straight and, starting at the head, cut them in half lengthways with a large, sharp knife. Be really careful as you do this because a slip could result in serious damage to your fingers.


  • 1 1kg (lb) crayfish, killed and halved (see below)
  • 150g (5oz) salted butter at room temperature
  • ½ cup fresh coriander leaves
  • 1 teaspoon finely ground coriander seeds
  • ½ teaspoon finely grated lime zest
  • ½ teaspoon cracked black pepper

Tomato Salsa

  • 3 tomatoes, finely diced
  • ½ cup finely sliced spring onions
  • 30ml (1fl oz) lime juice


Make the salsa before cooking the crayfish. Just mix the tomato dice with the spring onions and lime juice and leave for 10 minutes.

Heat up an overhead grill until it’s really hot. Put the butter, coriander leaves and seeds, lime zest and pepper in a food processer and purée for 30 seconds. Spread half the butter mix over the two halves of the crayfish and grill for 3 minutes. Then spread the rest of the butter over the crayfish and grill for a further 3 minutes. Be careful that the butter doesn’t flare up under the grill, as it might, and make sure the crayfish is a little rare – it will continue to cook a little as it sits. Spoon the salsa over the cooked flesh and eat straightaway. Use the leftover shells to make a bisque.