- 2 live yabbies (about 200gm each)
- 130 ml olive oil
- 1 head of garlic, halved horizontally, plus 3 cloves coarsely chopped
- A few thyme sprigs
- 4 ripe tomatoes, blanched, refreshed, peeled and puréed
- 500 ml dry white wine
- 1 onion, diced
- 300 gm (1 1/3 cups) bomba rice (see note)
- 1Put the yabbies humanely to sleep by freezing them for 20-30 minutes, then split them in half lengthways with a large sharp knife or cleaver. Reserve the coral. Remove heads and small legs, and keep tails and large claws separate. Heat 50ml olive oil in a large saucepan over high heat. Add yabby heads and small legs, halved garlic head and thyme sprigs. Cook, stirring often, until shells are pink and very fragrant (12-15 minutes). Add 125ml tomato purée, half the wine and 1 litre cold water. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to low and simmer until well-flavoured (1¾-2 hours), strain through a fine sieve and reserve 900ml (add hot water if necessary to make up the amount). Keep warm.
- 2Meanwhile, lightly crack yabby claws with the back of a cleaver. Heat remaining olive oil in a perol (see note) or large ovenproof frying pan over high heat, add tail pieces and claws and stir frequently until shells change colour (2-3 minutes). Season to taste, then remove from the pan and set aside. Reduce heat to medium, add onion and a pinch of salt and sauté until soft (5-6 minutes). Add chopped garlic and sauté until fragrant (1-2 minutes), then stir in the remaining tomato purée and simmer, stirring occasionally, until very thick (25-30 minutes). Add remaining wine, bring to the boil, then reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thick and dark (20-30 minutes). Remove from heat.
- 3Preheat oven to 180C. Add hot yabby stock to tomato mixture, bring to the boil over high heat, scatter with rice and a pinch of salt and stir. Reduce heat to low and simmer until slightly reduced (8-10 minutes). Add tails and claws, transfer to oven and bake until rice is al dente (10-15 minutes). Remove from heat and stand for a few minutes before serving.
Note Bomba rice is a short-grain rice available from select Spanish delicatessens and The Essential Ingredient. A perol is a traditional Spanish pan with deep sides and rounded edges, available from Spanish delicatessens and specialist cookware stores. This recipe is from MoVida Rustica: Spanish Traditions and Recipes by Frank Camorra and Richard Cornish and published by Murdoch Books ($59.95, hbk) and appeared in the October 2009 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller. In editing these recipes for publication, we have made minor changes to bring them into Gourmet Traveller style.