Tuesday, August 17, 2010
A Lobster Tale
Ok, so you know that trick with making iced tea so that summer would last longer? Yeah, I don't think that's going to work, but thanks for helping me out anyway. I've come to accept that fall is coming and I've even psyched myself up to be excited, even if it means work starting again and summer holidays ending. I've realized that as long as my summer memories are vivid in my mind, I can relive them, even after a long day of trying to tame and teach adolescent hormones. This blog is helpful because it means I don't have to dig out USB keys and memory cards to look at pictures -- my memories are just a click away. Whew!
Speaking of summer fun, I recall promising you a lobster tale. I'm already getting giddy remembering the story, so I'm sure that re-telling this tale in this post will solidify it in my mind, thus keeping it in the front of my memory for as long as possible. So here goes; I'm just going to say it. We made lobster bisque in a motel room. Details? Why, of course! Remember that beach lobster that we had on one of the last days in Moncton? Well, we saved the shells and some of the meat, with the idea of making bisque as a last dinner on our vacation. However, we ran into some roadblocks along the way. Our "kitchenette" at the motel was nothing more than a counter with a sink, a microwave and a hot plate. There were a few bowls and a shallow Pyrex glass dish. No pot. Did this put an end to our lobster plans? Nope. My ingeniously culinary partner pressed on. A quick trip to Sobeys for vegetable broth, potatoes, garlic butter, onions and tomatoes and the adventure began. This first part went smoothly. He sweat he veggies and set them aside (inside the ice holder!) and proceeded to pan roast the shells using the pyrex dish and hotplate. The smell was so wonderful. Then, stuff happened. As we were pouring the broth into the roasted shells, we heard a crack. Yup, we overheated that Pyrex dish and it cracked. BUT .. we poured the shells and broth into three bowls and .... yes ... we... microwaved it. A quick strain using a three dollar coffee strainer, a little mix with the veggies and into the microwave it went again. When we heard the final "ding!" we stirred in a little cream, topped it with leftover lobster meat and proceeded to taste. Oh .. my ... god. I would never have thought that it would taste so good. Very lobster-y, al dente potatoes, rich tomato flavour .. it was the perfect adventure to end our vacation.
But that's not it! Did you know that you can buy LIVE lobster at the airport in Moncton and FLY IT HOME? It was ingenious! They packed the lobsters with vaccum sealed frozen veggies and they stayed lively all the way to Toronto. A nice surprise for my family. That very night, we cooked it and the next day we took it over to my parents' where we made a lovely lobster soup/stew. It was wonderful, simple, yet unconventional. Simple veggies get sauteed, just like in the motel, and mixed with a touch of paprika. The lobster shells are roasted in the pan, and get some simmer time with water and broth. When everything gets put back together, it's thickened with rice. Twenty minutes later, you have a rustic, hearty, healthy very lobster-y stew that's rich without needing artery-clogging ingredients. I also have one more recipe to leave you with -- linguine with lobster meat. It's a simple pasta toss -- the sauce kind of coming together with a combination of tomatoes, lemon juice and pasta cooking liquid. It's fresh, tasty, and a lovely way to use up the lobster meat after you've used the shells to make the soup. So, if you ever find yourself indulging in lobster, please try these recipes and seriously consider visiting the east coast of Canada .. although before hand, make sure your "kitchenette" has an actually stove ... oh yeah, and pots and pans would be helpful too!
the shells of 1 medium-sized lobster
1 clove of garlic
2 medium carrots, diced
2 stalks of celery, diced
3 medium tomatoes, roughly chopped
3 new potatoes, diced
1 teaspoon of sweet paprika
4 cups of vegetable broth
3 cups of water
1 cup of jasmine rice
olive oil, salt and pepper
1. In a large pot, sweat the shallots and garlic until soft and fragrant. Add the carrots, celery, potatoes, tomatoes and paprika and cook on medium-low heat until the carrots, celery and potatoes start to soften and the tomatoes start to break down a little. Season with salt and pepper. Remove this mixture to a bowl and set aside.
2. In the same pan, roast the lobster shells in olive oil over medium-high heat for about 7-10 minutes. Add the broth and water and simmer for 15-20 minutes on medium-low heat, covered. Make sure you scrape the brown lobstery bits from the bottom of the pan.
3. Strain the shells and put the liquid back into the pot. Add the reserved vegetable mixture and rice and bring the liquid up to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for another 20 minutes, uncovered until the veggies become tender, and the rice is cooked. Turn off the heat and let stand, covered for another 10 minutes, or until the rice has exploded and the liquid has thickened up nicely.
4. Season to taste, take a bite, and pretend that you're in Moncton.
250 grams of linguine
a handful of grape tomatoes, quartered
1 shallot, minced
1 clove of garlic, minced
the juice and zest of one lemon
2 teaspoons of chili powder
the meat from one medium lobster, chopped
a bunch of spinach, roughly chopped
a handful of fresh herbs, chopped (I used basil, lemon thyme and parsley)
olive oil, salt and pepper
1. Boil the pasta according to package directions in large pot of salted water. Set aside 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid for later.
2. Cook the shallots and garlic in olive oil until soft and fragrant. Season with salt and pepper and add the chili powder. Cook for about a minute and then add the tomatoes. Cook for another 3 minutes, or until the tomatoes start to release their liquids.
3. Add the pasta, reserved cooking liquid, lemon juice and zest and toss. Add the lobster meat and spinach, and cook for another minute or so, just until the spinach has wilted and turned bright green.
4. Finish with fresh herbs, and more pepper if needed.