More Loving Lobsters

IMG_0772 - 2009-01-02 at 22-05-06

Two prices I never thought I would see again are gas for less than $2/gallon and lobster at less than $5/lb. Despite the painful circumstances of their return, I must admit that those prices are indeed welcome. I thought I was doing well (and I was) in December when I purchased lobsters at 47.99/lb, but this past Friday at our very own little Hannaford's Supermarket I came across a new shipment of lobsters selling at $4.99/lb for lobsters 2 pounds and under. They had the same deal before New Year's Eve, but had quickly sold out. By all appearances they were well on their way to selling out quickly again. This time, though, I happened to be in the right place at the right time. It's not even as if I was planning on buying lobsters, but at that price I couldn't resist. I bought 3 lobsters between 1.5 and 2 pounds. I had the fish mongers steam the lobsters for me. I also bought 9 ounces of cooked Maine shrimp and  two dozen littleneck clams. I had an idea.

With expensive lobsters it is hard to justify doing anything but serving them simply. However, at this price I felt unconstrained. I was going to use the lobsters, the shrimp and the clams in a pasta dish. I already had everything else I would need at home. When using lobsters for anything other than srved in the shell, I like larger lobsters as they more efficiently provide their meat. It is conceivable to retrieve usable pieces from the carapace, the tail fins and even the individual legs. Indeed I was able to secure as much of the meat as possible from these lobsters.

I'm not a bad cook. For a home cook, I think I'm actually pretty decent. However, my cooking is rarely of a level that I would actually consider writing about it. Occasionally if I'm using special ingredients like the suckling pig or making a holiday dish that I thought came out pretty well like the roasted pumpkin puree, I might post about it here. Or even if I am using a technique that may hold interest like using the CVap in a home, I might write about it. The pasta dish with lobster, shrimp and clams was nothing groundbreaking, but it may very well have been the best pasta dish that I ever prepared. Because of that and the fact that lobster is currently so cheap, I decided to share it here.

I don't generally cook from recipes. I tend to use cookbooks more for inspiration rather than as a detailed road map. This dish was no exception. I had a concept of what I wanted to do and I did it. Unfortunately, this approach tends to make repeating a particular dish difficult at best. My ingredient amounts are not precise. They are guided more by a gestalt than a scale. If interested in trying this dish I would advise the same. Whoever tries to follow along should make it their own. In the meantime I will lay out my ingredients and my techniques as best I can.

Ingredients:

  • Lobsters – 3 1.5-2 pounders steamed with meat removed from the shells. Take care to remove as much meat as possible. Use the roe and tomalley if available. Reserve the shells.
  • Maine shrimp -9 oz pre-cooked. This is not really necessary, but adds nice visual contrast.
  • Littleneck clams – 2 dozen freshly shucked with clam juice reserved
  • Linguine or spaghetti – 16oz.
  • Garlic 2 large cloves thinly sliced.
  • Parsley – 1 cup
  • Saffron – to taste depending on the freshness of the supply. Mine is old and has been kept in the freezer. I used enough to notice it.
  • Olive oil – approximately half a cup or enough to form a layer in the bottom of a large frying pan.
  • Peas – frozen or fresh approximately 1 cup.
  • Cherry tomatoes – about one dozen
  • Butter – 3 oz or so
  • Champagne or other sparkling or white wine approximately 1 cup. We had some leftover 1990 Fleury from New Year's Eve (I know, how is that possible?).
  • Water and salt to cook the pasta

Technique:

  • Heat the olive oil with lobster shells over low to medium heat until the shells start giving up flavor to the oil. use just enough of the shells to lay across the bottom of the frying pan without crowding.
  • Remove the shells and reserve with the rest of the shells to make lobster stock.
  • Over low heat add the garlic slivers to the lobster oil and cook untiljust starting to brown.
  • Pour the oil into a Vita-Mix or other blender that can withstand the heat.
  • Open the clams. They may either be shucked totally raw, reserving the juice or as I did it, heat them in the pan until they just start to open then remove them quickly. Take care to reserve all the clam juices and separate the clams.
  • Grind the saffron and add to the blender along with the parsley, tomatoes and clam juice. Puree until fully blended and smooth
  • Cook the pasta al dente
  • Reheat the sauce in the cleaned pot
  • Finish cooking the pasta in the sauce
  • As the pasta is finishing cooking add the lobster, shrimp, clams and peas and mix well.
  • Serve hot and enjoy

This should feed 4 to 6 people. Serve with champagne.


This entry was posted in Cooking and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply