I always feel that if you enjoy food & spend time preparing it, the presentation should certainly not let you down. But what often looks complicated, in actual fact can be incredibly simple. This low-carb dish is a perfect example!
A timbale is a Latin American drum; so the cooking term simply references that shape. You can buy timbale-moulds very cheaply; or alternatively if you’re more the ‘make do and mend type’ (like me), you can simply line a ramekin with cling-film and press the filling into that. Turn it out onto a plate and then pile-up a little more of the mixture on top to form a dome. It’s this ‘domed shape’ which gives a timbale its name. Obviously this method is not the purist’s approach but I see no problem with 2-stage construction! I shan’t tell if you don’t!
In comparison to prawns or crevettes; crayfish-tails are far less sweet in flavour. As a result, butter-softened leeks make their perfect bedfellow. This recipe also uses cream-cheese, which is incredibly mild in flavour. The salty intensity of parmesan serves to ‘lift’ this, and provides background depth to the whole dish. This combination is one which therefore works on all levels. Give it a go and tell me what you think!
Start by slicing your leek as finely as you can. Sauté the slices in salted butter on a low heat. Once the leek has softened, but not coloured; spoon it onto a wide dinner plate, spreading the mix as thinly as you can. This is so it cools nice & quickly. The cold weather being what it is, I tend to cover the plate with a tea-towel and place it out on the garden wall for 5 minutes. That always chills things down far more quickly than even the most high-tech refrigerator!
Once your leeks are nice and cool, scoop into a mixing-bowl and add a large tablespoon of full-fat cream-cheese (no reduced-fat please – we’re on a ketogenic diet after all!). Finely chop some basil and add this to the bowl, plus a good squeeze of lemon-juice. Pile your crayfish-tails onto some kitchen-paper and squeeze lightly to drain any excess liquid. Place half of these into the mixing-bowl and season well. Add a half-handful of grated parmesan, then fold the mix together with an authoritative hand. Be careful not to beat the lot into a paste! That would prove unsightly and ruin your efforts. Test for seasoning then press into your oiled timbale-moulds, or ramekins as above.
Upturn the moulds into the centre of your serving-plate, then take the remaining half of your crayfish tails and pile them up on top to form your dome. If you’ve done this properly and used the real timbale moulds, don’t worry; just carry on piling up the crayfish-tails regardless!
Garnish the top with thin slices yellow scotch-bonnet chillies and a basil leaf. Dress your salad-leaves with vinaigrette and place a small handful onto your plate. Top this with a few shavings of parmesan and finish the dish with a final drizzle of vinaigrette.
Truly delectable in every way!
Thanks for reading and bon ap!