This Western Australian marron thermidor with bush tomato recipe has been created by Paul Farag, head butcher at Fish Butchery in Paddington, NSW. As the name suggest, the produce he was inspired by was indeed Western Australian marron!
Serves 6 as a starter
2L fish stock
3 Western Australian marron
Thermidor Sauce Ingredients
100g shellfish butter
1 eschalot, finely chopped
2 tbs (40g) plain flour
1½ cups (185g) grated gruyere cheese
¼ cup finely chopped chervil
¼ cup finely chopped chives
¼ tsp white pepper
1 tsp bush tomato powder (see note)
Shellfish Butter Ingredients
250g mixed shellfish shells (you can use green prawn shells)
1 brown onion, roughly chopped
6 garlic cloves, peeled
1 tbs olive oil
500g unsalted butter, chopped and melted
1) To make the shellfish butter, preheat the oven to 200°C (180°C fan-forced). Place the shellfish shells, onion, garlic and oil in a medium deep-sided roasting pan. Place in oven and cook for 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Reduce the heat to 120°C (100°C fan-forced), add the melted butter and cook for a further hour, or until the garlic is tender. Remove the soft garlic cloves and set aside. Strain the shellfish mixture through a fine-mesh sieve, reserve the butter and allow to cool.
2) Place the fish stock in a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the marron and poach for 4 minutes. Remove the marron from the stock and refresh in ice-cold water. Set the stock aside.
3) Using a sharp knife, split the marron lengthways and remove the coral (the orange membranes) from the head section. Set the marron aside, reserving the coral.
4) To make the thermidor sauce, crush the soft garlic cloves with a fork. Place half the shellfish butter, eschalot and garlic cloves in a large frying pan over medium heat and cook for 1 minute, stirring, or until eschalot is tender. Add the flour and cook, stirring, for 1-2 minutes. Gradually add 400ml of the reserved fish stock, stirring until the mixture is thickened and coats the back of a spoon. Add the reserved coral, gruyere cheese, chervil, chives and pepper, stirring until well combined. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool slightly.
5) Pre-heat the grill to high. Place the halved marron on a baking tray lined with foil and spoon over the thermidor sauce. Cook for 8 minutes or until the sauce is golden. If you wish, cover the marron (especially the claw) with foil to prevent burning.
6) Place the marron on a serving plate and lightly dust with the bush tomato powder.
Bush tomato powder is available from specialty stores. Leftover shellfish butter can be frozen for up to 2 months.
Tools of the Trade
In the above image, Paul Farag’s Western Australian marron thermidor is being cooked on the ILVE Grigio Lusso 90cm Pro-Line Freestanding Cooker – available form Harvey Norman.
More Australian Chef Recipes
The following recipes have all been created by esteemed Australian chefs. Each recipe has been inspired by some of the best Australian produce.
► Roasted Rib of Beef with Witlof, Soft Garlic and Lardo Jus, created by Jordan Toft.
► Rich Chocolate Yoghurt Cake with White Chocolate Ganache and Poached Quince, created by Lauren Eldridge.
► Roasted Purple Cauliflower with Harissa, Macadamia and Pickled Currants, created by Adam Wolfers.