8 (about 300gm each)live black marron (see note)100 gmbutter, meltedTo garnish:salad burnet (see note) or chervil sprigsTo serve:sourdough rye bread and green saladGreen peppercorn and martini sauce1 tbspfresh green peppercorns, crushed4red shallots, finely chopped125 ml (½ cup)dry vermouth180 gmbutter, diced and softened1 tbsplemon juice1 tbspvodka1 tbspcoarsely chopped chervil
Place marrons in freezer for 10 minutes to slow down metabolism. Working with one at a time, using a clean tea towel, hold the body flat to keep marron still and insert a sharp large knife into the base of the head, halving the head. Turn marron around and cut the body in half, then place cut-side up onto an oven tray.
Meanwhile for green peppercorn and martini sauce, combine peppercorns, shallot and vermouth in a small saucepan, bring to the boil over high heat, then simmer over medium heat for 5 minutes or until reduced to 2 tbsp. Reduce heat to low and whisking continuously, gradually add butter, one piece at a time, until it’s all combined and sauce has emulsified. (Don’t let sauce get too hot or it will split.) Add lemon juice and vodka, whisk to combine, stir through chervil and season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Set aside and keep warm.
Preheat grill to high, season marron to taste, brush with melted butter and grill for 5 minutes or until just cooked through.
To serve, arrange marron on a platter, spoon sauce over, garnish with salad burnet and serve immediately with bread and green salad to the side.
Note Live black marron are available from specialist seafood suppliers and may be stored in a breathable plastic container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. If unavailable, substitute with small lobsters. Salad burnet is a herb with a taste similar to cucumber available from select greengrocers.