Lobster, Mahogany Clams, Thin Spaghetti, Tomato, Garlic, Red Pepper Flakes, White Wine, Salt & Pepper
Lobster Fra Diavolo (my way)
Yesterday was a big step for me from previous days, although it started very dull and without vision. We thought we would have charcuterie then nixed that. Then we thought fresh oysters, but the wife said she didn’t work that hard at eating – you know, standing in the kitchen and shucking and eating while standing there. Finally, I thought I’d just make a simple spaghetti and shellfish plate using pre-picked lobster meat and some clams, easy enough, right?
Well, not really, it was not easy at all however very much worth all the time and effort (mostly driving around getting the ingredients), went to the store for the basic ingredients: clams, wine, pasta and tomato. Then went to our fishmonger for the lobster meat, which he was out of however insisted that he would have some tomorrow (What? Did he not just hear I needed it then for my dish? The nerve!), the only lobsters he had were one and half pounders (very dull) and at USD$9.75 lbs, I didn’t think so! So lastly I ended up going to the oyster farm and see if I’d have any luck there (they occasionally have picked lobster meat). They didn’t have any picked lobster meat but did have some good lobsters, so I picked out a live 3.25 lbs lobster (USD$7.50, still a little high for us in this area but ok – we typically can pick up fresh lobsters right out of the sea pen, the Lobster Fishermen Coop., for about USD$6.25 to $6.75 per lbs.) and took it home to cook and pick myself (maybe we should have stuck with the oysters?!?!).
There is nothing fancy about cooking lobster – large pot, boiling water, some salt – drop the lobster in, that’s about it! Since this is 3+ pounder it takes a bit of time to cook however I went with less water and more steaming which takes about 25 minutes to just peak (just over pinkish however not done, done!) as I new I would be adding the meat to my sauce to incorporate the flavors.
While I had the lobster going, I slightly boiled my tomatoes for about 1 minute so I could easily peel the skins off. That accomplished I sliced the tomatoes and diced and set aside. I also prepared 5 large cloves of garlic, peeled and thinly sliced and put aside, and this point I was ready to rock-and-roll. Got the lobster out and cooled it down in a cold water bath – didn’t want the bugger to continue cooking (however, I left the lobster water boiling, to reduce for a stock, with some extra salt, pepper and garlic).
Once the lobster was sufficiently cooled down I went to work and picked as much meat as possible – with the large sized lobster, you can obtain a significant amount of meat and lot is in the head or upper body, if you prefer saying. I discarded the legs, fin and the shells into the stock pot (and any running juices I had in the picking bowl), reduced to a simmer. With lobster meat picked and ready, I proceeded to get’ir-done!
Heated a large pot with 4 Tbsp of Olive Oil with the sliced garlic (from cold, and bring up temp slowly, this way you’ll get the garlic pan roasted without burning and without making the garlic bitter), once the garlic was nicely browned, added the red pepper flakes. After about 30 seconds, I turned the heat up to max and introduced the tomatoes which I sautéed for about 3 minutes, then added a cup of the white wine and ladle of my lobster stock. After about another 3 minutes, I added my clams, stirred and covered until the clams started to open then I added the lobster meat, removed from the heat a stirred very lightly – done! By the way, all the while I had started cooking my pasta to al dente. Here are the results of my dish:
(Note: I cut the lobster meat into bite-sized pieces, and I forgot to make garlic bread. As for Mahogany clams, they give a nice sweet sea flavor however they themselves are not very hearty and got lost in all the other flavors, they’re good but I recommend you use little necks for a more intense flavor.)