Pike Quenelles with Crayfish Sauce

Prep Time: 40 mins
Cook Time: 50 mins
Serves: 4

Valentine Warner collects crayfish by hand to cook a beautiful pike quenelle with crayfish sauce.


  • 4 whole crayfish
  • 4 pike fillets, skin removed and chopped into small pieces½ medium fennel, chopped egg yolks, whole eggs
  • 1 egg white
  • Splash of jersey cream
  • Splash of brandy
  • 1 pinch chilli powder
  • small piece of chervilSalt & black pepper
  • Sunflower oil
  • 1tbsp tomato puree
  • 40g chilled butter, plus a little for the sauce
  • 40g plain flour
  • 100 ml milk
  • 3 tbsp double cream
  • Freshly grated nutmeg2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 banana shallot, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2- 3 sprigs thyme
  • 250ml water
  • 1 glass white wine


  1. Remove the meat from the crayfish tails and set aside.

  2. Heat some sunflower oil in a large frying pan and fry off the crayfish shells and heads until they begin to brown. Add the fennel, garlic, shallot, bay leaf and thyme and cook until softened. Add the water, wine, tomato puree and allow to boil until reduced by half. Remove from the heat.

  3. Melt 40g butter in a pan and stir in the flour. Gradually add the milk, whisking until the sauce is smooth and thick. Cook for a few minutes then remove from the heat and whisk in the double cream. Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper and leave to cool.

  4. Once the white sauce has cooled a little, whisk in two raw egg yolks.

  5. Place the pike fillets in a food processor and blend until smooth. Add the white sauce, then the eggs one at a time (each whole egg one by one then the egg white). Blend between each addition and continue to do so until the mixture is light & fluffy. Add a splash of jersey cream and pinch of salt, mix well and then refrigerate for 30 minutes.

  6. Strain the crayfish sauce through a fine sieve and return to a clean pan. Add the brandy and bring the mixture to the boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer add a small cube of chilled butter and slowly whisk until the sauce is thickened and glossy. Add a pinch of chilli powder and the meat from the crayfish tails. Keep over a very low heat.

  7. Bring a pan of lightly salted water to the boil. Using two wet spoons form the pike mixture into quenelles (oval shapes like rugby balls). Gently drop them into the water and poach for approximately 8 minutes. Remove the quenelles with a slotted spoon and allow to sit on kitchen paper to drain off any water.

  8. Arrange the quenelles in serving bowls, pour over a little of the hot crayfish sauce. Garnish with chervil and serve.

Tune In: Check out episode 3 of Valentine Warner Coast to Coast to watch Valentine Warner cook up the pike quenella and crayfish here.

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