Langoustines with watercress and pastis hollandaise

Langoustines with watercress and pastis hollandaise
  • Serves icon Serves 4 as a starter or 6 as a nibble
  • Time icon Hands-on time 30 min

The aniseed flavour of pastis added to this creamy, rich hollandaise works wonders with cooked langoustines. Serve as a starter and let everyone dig in.

Nutrition: per serving

Calories
401kcals
Fat
34.7g (20.3g saturated)
Protein
19.3g
Carbohydrates
1.2g (1.2g sugars)
Fibre
0.4g
Salt
0.5g
Calories
401kcals
Fat
34.7g (20.3g saturated)
Protein
19.3g
Carbohydrates
1.2g (1.2g sugars)
Fibre
0.4g
Salt
0.5g

Ingredients

  • 20 cooked langoustines

For the hollandaise

  • 1 small banana shallot, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 mace blade
  • 135ml white wine vinegar
  • 100g watercress, plus extra
  • Splash double cream (optional)
  • 4 medium free-range egg yolks
  • 220g unsalted butter, melted
  • 1-1½ tbsp pastis such as Pernod
  • Squeeze lemon juice, plus wedges

Method

  1. Arrange the langoustines on a platter. Put the shallot, peppercorns, mace, vinegar and 130ml water in a small pan. Bring to the boil, then reduce by around three quarters. Set aside in a heatproof bowl.
  2. Meanwhile, put the watercress in a colander and pour over a kettle of boiling water. Leave to wilt slightly, then pat dry between pieces of kitchen paper. Chop very finely or whizz in a food processor with a splash of double cream.
  3. Put the bowl containing the vinegar reduction over a pan filled with hot water, set over a medium heat (don’t let the water touch the bowl). Using a balloon whisk, beat in the egg yolks until beginning to froth. Pour in the butter in a thin stream, whisking. The sauce should start to thicken after a minute; if it doesn’t, stop adding the butter and whisk the sauce for a minute to thicken up. If it starts to look greasy, whisk in a splash of cold water and reduce the heat.
  4. Once all the butter has been added, the sauce should be smooth, glossy and thick. Stir in the watercress and pastis, then taste and add lemon juice if needed. Serve the sauce warm in a bowl alongside the langoustines, with extra watercress and lemon wedges.

delicious. tips

  1. If you’re buying fresh langoustines rather than ready cooked, steam them first for 5-8 minutes until the flesh is completely white, not translucent.

    If you cook fish or shellfish regularly, it’s good to keep a bottle of pastis in the cupboard. Its aniseed flavour works wonders stirred into buttery or tomato-based sauces.

    Freeze the egg whites to use in meringues. Lightly beat with a pinch of sugar and freeze for up to 3 months in a food bag labelled with the quantity and date. Defrost to use.

  2. Hollandaise is best made to order, so try not to let it sit for more than 30 minutes. If you are letting it sit, leave it on the pan of hot water, off the heat, with a piece of cling film directly touching the surface. Stir occasionally.

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