Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: Under 30 minutes, in several steps
I wanted to make a little nod towards Asia. I really like what is in the heads of the langoustines - the stuff that people never eat because they don't want to get their fingers dirty or because they don't know about it - and so I save this extraordinary coral. With langoustine tails that are not very firm, I make a stuffing to prepare the fried pincers. I thought about this for a long time since I didn't want to use any crème fraîche in it. Where I come from, it is not our tradition to bind things using milk or cream… so everything is "glued together" using a little egg white and yeast. I didn't want to fall into the trap of making a mousseline. I had a Vietnamese friend taste it - he laughed and said, "You make that like we do at home; we often use yeast as a binder." I should also add that yeast is a sterilizer so it promotes the langoustine's delicate flavour.
Then the langoustine is shelled, and then returned to its shell, so it is back in its element, served with a fried pincer, a little jus flavoured with Muscat de Rivesaltes, and a broth flavoured with langoustine, chicken stock and green onion (beloved in the southwest.)
To end the journey on an exotic note, I wanted to experiment with garlic, creating a garlic nougatine with crushed almonds, butter and a little sugar; I add some crushed peppercorns and pieces of fresh ginger to it. I tried to achieve a crispy texture, individualized by the garlic, but easy to digest, taking my inspiration from Chinese wisdom which always balances members of the onion and garlic family with ginger: yin and yang.
The garlic is chopped, rinsed and blanched. We never use crushed garlic with its bad-smelling yellow juice, nor do we use onion that has not been rinsed and finely chopped -it's aggressive and indigestible. My garlic has been blanched in milk and dried. The combination of garlic and ginger comes from a very ancient Chinese principle: wherever there is a little garlic, there is also always ginger to aid in assimilating and digesting the garlic.
Preparing the nougatine
- Peel and chop the garlic into brunoise (tiny dice), blanch it in milk, drain and let dry in a warm place (above the oven, for example.)
- Chop the ginger into brunoise.
- Heat together the butter, cream, powdered sugar and a pinch of salt. As soon as it comes to a boil, remove it from the heat and sprinkle in the flour; add the blanched garlic, pepper and ginger.
- Cook in small, non-stick moulds in the oven for 15 minutes.
Preparing the langoustines
- Remove the pincers and legs from the langoustines, clean out the heads; remove the coral and reserve it.
- Then using small scissors, carefully cut through the circular cartilage on the underside of the langoustine's tail.
- Reassemble the 24 nicest langoustines; place them on their backs on a baking sheet.
- Combine the olive oil with the Espelette chili, brush over the langoustines and season with salt. Roast in a 220° C (450° F) oven for 6 to 7 minutes.
Preparing the 6 pincers and fritters
- In a blender, combine the meat from the remaining langoustine tails, the coral from the 30 langoustines, 100 g of bread crumbs, a little salt, the yeast, and a pinch of Espelette chili.
- Blend on high speed to make a smooth paste.
- Form the mixture into 6 quenelles (little ovals), roll them in flour, then the beaten egg, and finally in the remaining bread crumbs.
- Choose the 6 nicest pincers and place one of them into each ball, articulated side up. Set aside in a cool place.
Preparing the vinaigrette
- In a saucepan, reduce the Muscat until you have 2 tablespoons.
- Squeeze the lemon. Chop the ginger into brunoise (tiny dice).
- Open the oysters and chop the flesh. Chop the green onions very finely and rinse under cold water.
- Place the lemon juice, sesame oil, reduced Muscat, veal stock, 1/2 tsp. chopped ginger and the crushed oysters in a saucepan. Heat gently. Add the chopped green onions.
- Roast the langoustines in a very hot oven (250° C / 480° F) for 5 to 6 minutes.
- Fry the pincers for 4 minutes in peanut oil at a temperature of 170° C (340° F).
- Place the roasted langoustines on a platter and nap with the warm vinaigrette. Accompany them with nice pieces of the garlic nougatine and the fritters which have been well-drained on paper towel.
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