Written and photographed by Lara O’Brien
It’s cold here in Toronto. Only a few days until we turn the calendar to April, but we’re still suffering through sub-zero temperatures. This generally creates a bitter mood amongst us Canadians, who feel that we schlep it through winter long enough that we deserve some sort of spring, but I digress. So while holed up one frigid night in my apartment, I came across that Batali/Paltrow show “Spain, On the Road Again“. Man, rich people have it good.
In this episode, Mario, Gwyneth and crew were cruising around the sunny island of Majorca, indulging in a locally caught lobster feast. As my roommate Cathy and I salivated over the picturesque views of the ocean, palm trees and Gwyneth Paltrow’s expensive pea coat, we decided we too deserved lobster and contemplated why had we never made lobster before?
It was our last week in our apartment before we went our separate ways, so what better way to celebrate than a meal of lobster with our some of our closest friends? This was to be a kind of last supper after three years of living together, cooking, and celebrating dozens of birthdays, friends’ engagements and life’s general highs and lows. Food and cooking have been integral throughout our time together, so we wanted this meal to be special.
Live lobsters were purchased, then killed and chopped up in the store (all intentions of doing this ourselves went out the window when they proved feistier then we anticipated and my meat cleaver was packed for the impending move—honest). The “Spain, On the Road Again” lobster recipe was pretty simple, so I used it as a jumping-off point for a stew that was a bit richer, thanks to some added hot chorizo and other tweaks. We dug into the lobsters, extracting the meat with fingers and a nutcracker for a meal that was incredibly messy but three good years in the making.
Prep time: 4 servings
- 2 medium lobsters
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 large carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 celery stalk, roughly chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 large Spanish onion, chopped
- 2 Cubanelle peppers, chopped
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 link hot chorizo sausage, thinly sliced
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1 cup fish stock
- 3 Roma tomatoes, seeded and thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced
Make lobster stock: Remove the heads from the lobsters and add to a medium stockpot with bay leaves, carrots, celery, and peppercorns. Add 3 cups water and simmer for 30-45 minutes. Strain and reserve 1 cup stock for the recipe; the rest can be frozen for future use.
Separate the remaining pieces of lobster into tail, claw, and body segments.
In a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat, cook the lobster pieces for 2 minutes in the olive oil until the shells are opaque pink, turning the pieces with tongs to sear all sides. Remove from the pan, then add the onion, peppers, red pepper flakes, and garlic and cook until softened. Add the chorizo and cook until it starts to render out its fat, then add the tomato paste and paprika and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.
Add the white wine and stir to deglaze, scraping up the browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pan, until the wine is nearly evaporated. Add the fish stock and the reserved cup of lobster stock and simmer for five minutes. Return the lobster pieces to the pan and add the tomatoes. Cover the pan and continue to simmer for about 4 minutes or until the lobsters are just cooked through.
Sprinkle with parsley to finish. Serve in a big bowl with garlic-rubbed crostini for dipping in the broth (which is really the yummiest part).