Marron are one of the largest freshwater crayfish in the world and are native to Western Australia. Extreme care must be taken with live marron if they are being prepared outside of WA. The live trade of marron is tightly regulated in Victoria and it means that they are not freely available as there is concern that if they escaped and entered waterways they would pose a risk to our native Victorian crustaceans by competing for food sources and habitat.
For the oyster sauce
Place the oyster meat and juices, the first measure of water, the garlic, spring onion and ginger in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 20 minutes on a gentle heat with the lid half on. Add the sugar and soy sauce. Mix the second measure of water with the cornflour and whisk into the sauce. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring regularly until the sauce thickens slightly. Pass through a fine sieve, discarding the solids. Cool and refrigerate until needed.
For the seaweed broth
Heat the pork stock to 80°C (176°F). Add the kombu and infuse for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the bonito. Infuse for 5 minutes, then pass through a sieve lined with muslin (cheesecloth). Season with the sherry, soy sauce and salt.
For the marron
When ready to serve, kill the marrons by swiftly cutting through the centre line of the head and thorax with a sharp chef’s knife. This is the most humane way to kill a crustacean that I know of. Twist the tail from the head and blanch the tail in a saucepan of boiling water for 30 seconds — this will allow you to remove the tail meat from the shell cleanly. Using a pair of heavy kitchen scissors, carefully snip along both sides of the tail to remove the meat from the shell. Place the tail meat in a vacuum pouch with the oil and vacuum-pack on 100 per cent for 30 seconds in a chamber vacuum sealer*. Place the bag in a circulating water bath (or saucepan filled with water) heated to 60°C (140°F) and leave for 6 minutes. Halve each marron lengthways, and season with salt and lemon juice.
Place a small dot of the rose powder off-centre on each warmed plate. Add a small teaspoon of oyster sauce alongside and place the marron on top. Place a slice of cured beef on each plate and garnish with the sea lettuce and sea succulent. Heat the broth and pour into four serving jugs. Pour the broth tableside directly onto the red rose powder. Note: To make red rose powder, place organic unsprayed red rose petals in a food dehydrator* at 50°C (122°F) for 2 hours, then grind into a fine powder using a mortar and pestle.
Recipe and image from 'Origin' by Ben Shewry, published by Murdoch Books