Gratin of yabbies

Gratin of yabbies

Gratin d’ecrevisses

Taste le Tour

From the Alps region by Philippe Mouchel

This stunning dish used to be served in many of the top three-star restaurants all over France. It’s fairly rich but is a real classic and a great dish to learn and to serve for special occasions.


Quantity Ingredient
1.5kg cooked yabbies
4 tablespoons olive oil
40g butter
3 shallots, finely sliced
1 fennel stalk
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tomato, diced
60ml cognac
125ml madeira
125ml white wine, plus 2 tablespoons extra 500 ml crayfish or fish stock
500ml crayfish or fish stock
1 bay leaf
2 sprigs thyme
80ml thin cream
A pinch cayenne pepper
2 egg yolks
100g warm melted butter
1/4 lemon, juiced
2 cups cooked spinach
1 garlic clove, chopped
freshly ground black pepper


  1. Detach the yabby heads from the bodies and shell the yabby tails.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a heavy, cast-iron saucepan. When very hot, add the yabby heads and stir well for a couple of minutes, pressing on the heads from time to time to extract more flavour.
  3. Add half the butter to the pan then add the shallots and fennel and stir well. Add the tomato paste and stir well. Stir in the diced tomato, Cognac, Madeira and white wine and bring to the boil. Add the crayfish stock, bay leaf and thyme and simmer for 20 minutes, uncovered. Stir in the cream and cayenne pepper and cook for a further 5 minutes.
  4. Strain the yabby sauce through a chinois or very fine sieve into a saucepan, pressing on the shells to extract the maximum flavour. Simmer the sauce over a medium heat until reduced to about 1 ½ cups.
  5. Place the egg yolks and the 2 extra tablespoons of white wine in a medium bowl and sit it over a saucepan of simmering water. Whisk the yolks over the heat for about 5 minutes until they are light and fluffy. Remove the bowl from the saucepan and gradually add the melted butter, whisking continuously to form a creamy sauce. Whisk in the lemon juice
  6. Melt a teaspoon of the remaining butter in a saucepan. Add the cooked spinach and garlic and warm through gently.
  7. Melt the rest of the butter and the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a pan and gently reheat the yabby tails. Season to taste with salt and pepper and gently stir in the yabby sauce.
  8. Arrange the spinach in a 25 cm gratin dish. Top with the yabbies and sauce and place under a hot grill until lightly browned on top. Serve immediately.
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