Crayfish sauce

Sauce Écrevisses


Quenelle de brochet sauce Nantua servie au “Restaurant à la Traboule” (3 Place du Gouvernement, 69005) dans le Vieux Lyon

I found this while looking for versions of the crayfish sauce that they use in Nantua. We’ve passed by the town lots of times on the way to Annecy, and I saw it mentioned in Waverley Root’s The Food of France which a colleague lent me. It’s quite complex, so I have suggested a shorter method which uses ready-cooked and shelled crayfish. This is typically served as the sauce with quenelles de brochet.

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Serves 4. Prep time: 60 minutes.


  • 1 small onion | chopped fine
  • 1 clove garlic | chopped fine
  • of bouquet garni
  • 20 peppercorns
  • ½ tsp salt (see tip)
  • 25 cl white wine
  • 3 glasses water
  • 12 crayfish | whole (or cooked and shelled for the short version)
  • 100 g butter
  • 1 fish stock cube [optional]
  • 1 tsp flour
  • 12 cl double cream
  • pinch of cayenne


Short version

  1. Make a light stock by simmering the onion, garlic, bouquet garni, peppercorns, and salt in a pan with the wine and one glass of water for 10 minutes.

  2. Strain the stock and dissolve the fish stock cube in it. Leave it to cool.

Full version

  1. Add the crayfish and cook for another 8 minutes, then take off the heat, and strain the crayfish and stock into separate bowls to cool.

  2. Break open the crayfish and put the meat into another bowl and put the head, shells, claws and other débris into a pan.

  3. Smash up the débris finely with a stick blender. Melt 100 g of the butter and mix in, then leave for a few hours.

  4. Add the other two glasses of water and bring the buttery débris to the boil, then strain through a fine sieve, discard the mush, and put the stock in the fridge to chill.

  5. The crayfish butter will set to a gel: spoon this off and use below.

Finishing up (both versions)

  1. Heat the stock. Chop the crayfish meat.

  2. In a pan, melt the other 50 g of butter, mix with the flour, and cook gently for a few seconds.

  3. Remove from the heat, and add the stock little by little, stirring each time so it thickens smoothly.

  4. When all the stock is mixed in, put it back on the heat, bring to the boil and then simmer gently for 10 mins, stirring often to stop it sticking.

    For the full version: add the crayfish butter.

  5. Add the cream and chopped crayfish, and bring back to the boil.

    At the last moment, add the cayenne and stir.


  • Pour over your quenelles or fish goujons or serve separately in a pot with a spoon.

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