Yesterday would have been Julia Child‘s 100th birthday and everyone was marking the occasion on Twitter by posting her recipes and quoting her. So, I thought I’d get in the mood by cooking something a little bit special to mark the occasion.
Until yesterday I had never cooked a lobster. I’d eaten it many times, but I had never cooked one. When I was thinking what I could cook, two things sprung to mind; Beef Bourguignon and Lobster, both owing to scenes in the movie, Julie and Julia which I am embarrassed to say was the first I’d ever heard of Julia Child. (Aptly, I was in Paris when I watched that movie).
It’s over 30ºc here in Spain at the moment, so Beef Bourguignon was a definite no-no! Lobster was not. I sent a message to my baby sister, Jessica, telling her what I had decided to cook. Her response was “Are you going to make a classic thermidor?” I honestly thought she knew me better. Of course, when cooking your first lobster the sensible thing would be to follow a recipe and get plenty hints and tips from various people on the internet. It’s just not my style.
I went to the supermarket, threw a lobster, some fresh coriander, spring onions, red pepper and a bottle of Cava (not for the lobster dish; just to quench my thirst when cooking! 🙂 ) into my basket and hot-footed it home to whip up something lobstery!
This, my dear readers, is what happened. If it is possible to get a Big-O from food, then this dish will do just that. It certainly did it for me!
Lobster – whole and thoroughly washed
Thin Rice Noodles
Red, Yellow and Green Pepper – sliced
Spring Onions – sliced
Carrot – cut into thin batons
Garlic – sliced
Ginger – finely sliced
Kaffir Lime Leaves – finely sliced
Fresh Coriander – roughly chopped
Fresh Red/Green Chilli – finely sliced
Large Pan/Stock Pot – for lobster
Large Saucepan – for noodles
How You Do It
Timing was seemingly key with this dish, so my advice is to prepare everything and have it all to hand. It doesn’t take long to cook at all.
First take your large pan/stock pot and half fill it with water ensuring there is enough to cover the lobster. To the water add the cinnamon stick, cloves, coriander seeds, cardamom pods, star anise and fennel seeds. Bring it to the boil and let it boil for about 5 minutes before adding your lobster, head first. (I froze mine for 30 minutes before cooking it so as it wasn’t wriggling around when I plunged it in the boiling water. My fishmonger told me to do this). Cover and bring the water back to the boil before turning the temperature down to a moderate heat and let it simmer. (My little lobster was cooked in 10 minutes).
Whilst your lobster is cooking, put plenty water in your other saucepan for the noodles. These take no time at all to cook. You literally bring the water to boil, plunge in the noodles, turn off the heat, leave the noodles in the water for 3 – 4 minutes then strain them and plunge them into cold water. Leave them there until you need them again.
Once your lobster is cooked, take it out of the water and set aside to drain and cool so as you can handle it. Use a nutcracker and a sharp knife to crack the shell and remove the flesh. You need to be firm but gentle so as you don’t break all the flesh into tiny pieces. Put the shells back in the stock pot and set it to boil whilst you cook the veggies.
Put some sunflower oil in your wok along with the garlic, ginger and kaffir limes leaves and put it on a moderate heat to release the flavours into the oil. Leave it like this for a couple of minutes, moving it all around occasionally, making sure nothing is burning, before turning the heat up high and throwing in the peppers, spring onion, carrot, a dash of fish sauce and a teaspoon of palm/brown sugar and stir frying for a minute or two. Turn off the heat.
Strain the noodles and add them to the wok, mixing them in with the veggies. (I used my hands to do this so as not to break and mush up the noodles and to ensure an even coating of flavour).
Take the stock pot that you used to cook the lobster off the heat and pour the liquid through a sieve into a clean bowl/jug. Discard the contents of the sieve.
Pile the noodles and veggies onto a plate or into a shallow bowl. Place the lobster meat on top. Spoon on a small amount of the lobster cooking liquid then sprinkle the fresh coriander and chilli over the top.
In the words of the late Julia Child, Bon Appétit!