‘Rock Lobsters’ are sometimes called Crayfish especially in New Zealand and Australia. They are freshwater crustaceans closely related to the lobster but smaller and without the large pincers on the first pair of walking legs. Lobster and crayfish are very similar in flavour and texture with the latter being slightly sweeter and stronger. Crayfish pairs much better with other ingredients and is therefore a more appropriate ingredient to use in this starter.
The idea of marrying pork and shellfish is not new. Scallops are often served with bacon and chorizo with clams. Paella often contains pork as does the Louisiana dish of gumbo.
In this dish the chilli jam should be just sweet enough to complement the shellfish without being overly spicy. The pork should be soft and salty with the parma ham adding a ‘cured’ dimension to the balance of flavours.
If the truffle oil is warmed and the dish dressed at the last minute the diner should catch the delicate woodland aroma of mushrooms.
For the terrine
1 kg Boneless and rindless pork belly (kept whole)
2 sprigs Fresh thyme
2 Bay leaves
1 Large onion
2 Sticks of celery
1 Large carrot
2 ltrs Good chicken stock
5 Slices of parma ham (enough to cover an area of work bench 30cm wide when laid side by side - about 125g)
100g Cooked and drained crayfish tails
1 leaf (about 4 g) Gelatine
- Heat the oven to 160oC. Wash, peel and roughly chop all the vegetables. Place them in a casserole dish with the herbs, pour in the stock and bring to the boil. Season the pork and carefully slide it into the dish. Make sure the pork is covered by the stock, add some water if necessary. Cover the dish with a tight fitting lid and put it in the oven to braise for 3 hours or until the meat is falling apart.
- Remove from the oven and allow to rest. Cautiously remove the pork from the liquid making sure there are no bits of vegetables or herbs attached. Allow the pork to cool down enough to handle. Strain the stock and reserve 50ml (the rest can be chilled and go towards gravy for a Sunday roast).
- Soak the gelatine in a little cold water to soften and add to the 50mls of stock. Pull the pork meat apart and combine with the gelatine/stock mixture. Adjust the seasoning and mix well breaking up all the meat.
- Lay 3 pieces of cling film (use good quality cling film) on a work bench, 1 across and 2 down to cover an area 40cm wide and 30cm high. Arrange the parma ham slices on the cling film to create a single thin layer smaller than the area of the cling film. Place half the pulled pork in a line on the parma ham towards but not touching the bottom. Arrange the cray fish tails down the centre of the line of meat and top with the rest of the pork.
- Carefully roll the terrine up into the cling film so that the parma ham envelopes all the pork making a nice snug cylinder. Tie one end of the cling film in a knot, roll the cylinder again until it is as tight as possible but still uniform in shape and tie the other end. Chill it in the fridge.
For the chilli jam
This makes more than enough but it can be used as a general condiment particularly good with cheese
500g Ripe tomato concasse (see previous recipes)
1cm Piece of ginger, finely minced
1 Red chilli, halved, membranes and seeds removed, finely sliced
2 Garlic cloves, finely sliced
300g Caster sugar
100ml Good white wine vinegar
- Warm tomatoes, ginger, chillies and garlic in a preserving pan with the sugar and vinegar, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.
- Simmer, stirring regularly, for about 20 minutes or until the jam has thickened.
- Either keep the jam coarse or puree it in a blender then then pour into prepared jars and store.
To plate up, finish and garnish
Some mixed leaf
Thinly sliced baguette, oiled and toasted in the oven with some sea salt
Extra crayfish tails
- Remove the terrine from the fridge and leaving the cling film on slice it into 75g slices.
- Take each slice and lay it on it’s side in the centre of a plate. Now remove the cling film.
- Position 3 small beads of chilli jam around the outside and top with extra cray fish for garnish.
- Arrange a little mixed leaf on the top of each terrine slice and rest 1 crostini against it.
- Finely dress the dish with truffle oil just before serving it.