Rocking the Lobster

Lobster Catalana

I’d read about Aragosta alla Catalana, a Sardinian casserole of rock lobster with tomatoes.

This is my free interpretation of chef Francesco Mazzei’s recipe, which I found in The Telegraph. He claims it as Calabrian. His version is an elegant, summery salad, which calls for coriander and fennel seeds in the dressing, along with Worcestershire and Tabasco sauces. I left these out, but used an Asian Sriracha chilli sauce, which gave a background warmth.

I find it satisfying to construct a salad like this in layers, it makes an attractive centrepiece with the main ingredient on top.

 

Lobster Catalana

 

 

Lobster Catalana

Half a cooked, dressed lobster per person. (You could substitute prawns, or a mixture of both.)

For the salad:

  • Mixed salad leaves.
  • Fresh Herbs: a handful each of basil, chopped dill, parsley, chives.
  • A few very thin slices of red onion, marinated in red wine vinegar. (This makes them crisper, and the taste of raw onion milder. Discard the vinegar when ready to use).
  • A handful of thinly sliced fennel.
  • Small new or waxy potatoes, boiled.
  • Tomatoes; I used oven dried, which were juicy and sweet (recipes in Alastair Little’s classsic Keep it Simple – “taste one, eat the tray, and start again” – or A Year in my KItchen by Skye Gyngell). You could use good fresh tomatoes instead.

 

 

 

Chegworth Valley cooking tomatoes, Twickenham Farmers Market

 

 

Assemble the dressing:

(I didn’t write down quantities, but these are estimates to serve 6)

  • A tablespoon of good mayonnaise.
  • A dessertspoon of sherry vinegar, or your favourite wine vinegar.
  • A splash of extra virgin olive oil.
  • The juice and zest of half a lemon, or more to taste.
  • A dash (half teaspoon) of Sriracha Thai chilli sauce, or Tabasco or similar.
  • A pinch of salt if you think it needs it.

Whisk together.

 

Assemble the salad:

Arrange the salad leaves and sliced onion and fennel on a platter, then scatter the potatoes and tomatoes on top. Spoon over the dressing; it can be distributed thoroughly when you come to serve.

 

 

The salad under construction

 

 

Arrange the lobster halves and claws on top to serve; you could take the meat out of the shells if you prefer.

 

And to drink?

A Sardinian Vermentino would be the most appropriate white; a Roero Arneis from Piemonte would also work well, or your favourite rosé.

 

Recommended reading:

I enjoyed the chapter on Lobster Thermidor in Tim Hayward’s The D.I.Y. Cook, and his recipe for Lobster Bisque came in very handy the following day . . . .

 

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