Crayfish tails with asparagus and hollandaise sauce

Serves: 4
Preparation time: 35 minutes
Difficulty: Moderately difficult


3 egg yolks, at room temperature
2 tablespoons water
175g unsalted butter, cubed to 1.5cm pieces, at room temperature
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
White pepper
4 crayfish tails (defrosted in the freezer overnight)
2 bunches asparagus


  1. Bring a large stock pot with 6 cups of salted water to the boil. Add the crayfish tails and reduce heat to simmer, uncovered, for 8 to 12 minutes until tails turn bright red and meat is tender. Remove tails from pot and drain in a colander. Place each tail on a plate ready to serve.
  2. Prepare asparagus by snapping or cutting off the lowest portion of each stalk. Place in a steamer insert ready to be added to steamer base on stove top.
  3. Bring a steamer saucepan base half filled with water, and a medium saucepan a quarter filled with water to the boil. Once boiling, remove the lid of the medium saucepan and reduce heat to a very low simmer (water should be barely moving).
  4. Place the egg yolks and the 2 tablespoons water in a large heatproof bowl and place it on top of the medium saucepan (it should not touch the water at all). Whisk the mixture constantly with a wire whisk for 3 minutes or until it is thick and pale and has doubled in volume. A ribbon trail should form when the whisk is lifted.
  5. Add the butter one cube at a time, whisking constantly. Each butter cube can be added when the previous one is completely incorporated. Continue until all butter is whisked into the sauce (about 10 minutes). When all the butter is incorporated, remove the bowl from the saucepan to a heatproof surface. The cooked sauce should have the consistency of very lightly whisked thickened cream. Whisk in lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.
  6. 5 minutes into preparing the hollandaise sauce, add the steamer insert with asparagus to the steamer base to cook.  Cook for 5-10 minutes until tender and remove immediately from heat.
  7. Place the steamed asparagus next to the cray tails on each plate. Spoon hollandaise sauce over the asparagus and serve immediately with fresh lemon wedges.