Food glorious food. And Marron, yum.

The talented and delightful Silas Masih from Forest Hill Vineyard near Denmark has just sent me a recipe from the Greenpool Restaurant menu.

I can attest to its yumminess because I tried it when we were there – truly ‘delish’ on a cold autumn day when you’re in need of warming up.

The lobsterish thing I’m holding is Marron.  Grill them or boil them, their shells turn a bright orangey red colour when cooked.  Marron is quite unique to the southwest, and you can apply for a permit at certain times of the year to fish for them. They are large freshwater crayfish, that taste similar to lobster, but  sweeter and less salty.  Apparently there’s the ‘hairy’ marron and the ‘smooth’ marron, the hairy one habitating a narrow range of the Margaret River.

Thank you Silas for your generosity. So here, dear folks, it is. Enjoy!

Seafood Chowder

Ingredients

  • Olive oil
  • 2 brown onions, finely diced
  • 1 celery stick, cut into 1.5cm pieces
  • 1 leek, sliced
  • 1/2 tsp ground fennel seeds
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1.5L tomato puree
  • 3 bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 600ml fish stock
  • 1 generous pinch saffron soaked in

1/2 cup hot water

  • 500g raw prawn shells
  • Sea salt
  • Ground black pepper

Method

Heat oil in a large heavy-based pan; sweat off onions and vegetables with fennel seed. As onions become transparent, add garlic. Cook for three minutes. Add tomatoes, puree, bay leaf, sugar, fish stock and saffron then simmer for 30 minutes.

Add raw prawn shells stir and simmer for further 15 mins, top-up Liquid (water or stock) at this stage, bring to the boil and let sit for 10mins before straining through a fine strainer.

Adjust seasoning and thicken with a little beurre manié (equal parts of soft butter and flour kneaded into a dough and used to thicken soups) for correct consistency. Simmer chowder until the flavours are amalagamated, not floury.

Pan-fry a selection of fresh seafood, deglaze with brandy, a good amount of Lescure butter and ladles of chowder to cover seafood. Stir to a bubble and serve with grilled garlic bread and a great bottle of Forest Hill Block 8 Chardonnay.

Forest Hill is Western Australia’s oldest cool-climate vineyard. It’s a family owned boutique winery. www.foresthillwines.com.au

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