Lob­ster stew

Country Life Every Week - - Simon’s Kitchen -

Serves 2

A rich lit­tle stew, to be sure.

In­gre­di­ents

2 x 400g (ap­prox.) live lob­sters,

prefer­ably fe­male 75g best but­ter, such as that from

Brit­tany with sea-salt flakes 1 small clove gar­lic, crushed 100ml medium sherry

(Amon­til­lado, say) 500ml Chan­nel Is­lands milk 200ml whip­ping cream A gen­er­ous pinch or two of cayenne pep­per (even bet­ter, pi­ment d’es­pelette) and the same of pa­prika (not smoked, please) Sev­eral sprigs of dill

Method

Just cover the lob­sters with cold wa­ter and add a level ta­ble­spoon of salt. Bring up to a sim­mer and then switch off the heat. Leave them sub­merged for 5 min­utes and then im­me­di­ately plunge them into a large bowl of heav­ily iced wa­ter. Re­move af­ter about 10 min­utes and drain in a colan­der.

Split the lob­sters in two length­ways us­ing a sharp, heavy-bladed knife and re­move the gritty stom­ach sac from the head. Crack the claws with the back of the knife and ex­tract the flesh. Do the same with the tail meat and set both to one side, on a plate. Re­serve the shells.

Melt the but­ter in a roomy pan and add the lob­ster car­cases. Stir them around over a low heat un­til they be­come very red and are smelling just mar­vel­lous and shell­fish-savoury. Stir in the gar­lic, al­low it to siz­zle a bit, then pour in the sherry. Al­low to bub­ble for about 10 min­utes and re­duce a lit­tle.

Now, pour in the milk and cream, stir in the spices and sim­mer for 20 min­utes. Strain through a colan­der into a large bowl and leave to drip for a good 5 min­utes or so. Wipe out the pan and strain the re­sul­tant creamy liquor into

it through a sieve. Dis­card the ex­hausted lob­ster shells.

To fin­ish the dish, very qui­etly re­heat the lob­ster meat in the soupy sauce, stir in the dill and check for sea­son­ing. De­cant into warmed bowls, al­low­ing the claw meat to perch on top, just for the look of the dish. Serve with a sim­ple rice pi­laf.

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