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Sunday, August 30, 2009

when precooked frozen lobster is $3, buy some...

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...and ask questions later...


And this is what I did. I saw the lobster, I grabbed it....and then I got home, and didn't really know what to do with it. They were kinda weeny (obvy, at $3, they would be)...and frankly, the bag smelled a weeeeeeeeeee bit fishy. I tossed them in the freezer and decided to, in the manner of dear Scarlett, think about it another day.

A month passed, and the lobsters still weighed on my mind, having been joined by a rather large package of jumbo scallops.

And then my dad was coming to visit. Now, my dad lives in Thailand half the year, and is married to a lovely woman from whenever he comes to visit, I try to make something that is really NOT thai (because a) I have an inferiority complex and can't compete with his wife's spicy creations and b) I figure I will feed him something a little different from what he normally eats). Plus, my dad is generally a willing subject for culinary experimentation.

So I decided that I would turn these sub-par lobsters and giant scallops into risotto.

And that I would make lobster stock.

On a weeknight.

Right after returning to work after my year of mat leave.

Ill conceived? Perhaps. But it worked out just fine. That said, I think as far as risotto goes, I do prefer a good old mushroom risotto with rosemary. It's cheaper, fast, less of a paaaaaaaain in the ass with the whole making-your-own-stock idea, and I think I like it better. But the seafood risotto is good. And if you find yourself struggling with a destination for your frozen-pre-cooked only-vaguely-sketchy lobster...go for it. This recipe works.

Lobster Broth
2 lobsters
1 onion, couple of carrots, celery
bay leaf
salt, pepper

1. Crack and dismantle the unfortunate arthropods. I can't do this. I make hubs do it. The second my food stares at me, I become an avowed vegetarian for the next 15 minutes.

2. Put the shells in a pot, cover with water, add a quartered onion, couple of carrots, some celery, maybe some garlic, a bayleaf or two and some fresh parsley. There's no real science or recipe to it. If you have time to burn, consider roasting the shells in the oven for more flavour. (As above, it was a weeknight...therefore, quicker = better). Let it all bubble away for an hour or so. Add some salt and pepper. I found the broth a little week, so I also added a rounded spoonful of chicken bouillon (yes with it).


3. Strain the chunky bits out and keep the broth at a simmer (risotto works best with simmering stock).


5-6 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
2-3 cups chopped veggies (I used summer squash and zucchini because I had a surfeit of both)
2 cups rice
1/2 cup white wine
6ish cups stock
1 teaspoon salt
Grated Parmesan cheese

1. Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a heavy pan. When it is bubbling, add the onion. Cook for 2-3 minutes; do not allow the onion to brown.

2. Add the rice and the veggies and stir it well with a spatula; do not allow it to color. Be certain that the onion and rice are well coated with the butter.


3. Add the wine and let it almost cook away.

4. Start to add stock, a half cup at a time. Let each half cup of stock cook away before adding more. As the rice becomes tender, stir it keep it from sticking to the pan. You're going to be stirring for a solid half hour. I'm just warning you. It takes foooooorever.


5. Add salt. When the rice is done, stir in the remaining 2-3 tablespoons of butter and a little grated Parmesan cheese. Serve at once. Top with lobster and scallops

Definitely not the most photogenic dish I've ever made....

Seared Scallops
1 pound sea scallops
2 T each, olive oil and butter

1. Pat the scallops dry (the wetter they are, the less they will sear. Of course, if you have my $#&*#@@# stove, they won't really sear at all).

2. Heat the olive oil and butter over high heat. Season both sides of the scallops with sea salt and pepper.

3. Sear the scallops on both sides until they are nice and brown. Contrary to popular belief, it isn't necessary to completely utterly cook them into oblivion. A little translucency in the middle just makes them taste better. As with any food though, there is a certain level of risk with them being underdone. Doesn't stop me from eating sushi, or eating medium-rare meat....but it's important to assess your comfort level (Z certainly didn't have any of this dish!).


4. Remove the scallops from the pan. Add some white wine and scrape up the brown bits. Add a bit more butter. Turn off the heat. Return the scallops to the pan and add the lobster, heating through. Serve over the risotto.

This definitely garnered rave reviews from all involved. I liked it....but like I said, I like my mushroom risotto better. Hubs opinion? Good.


lululu said...

i love lobster!
i've seen frozen lobster in the market, but it's never been that cheap! and so, i've never considered buying it!
now, i saw your pictures, i think i'd give it a try if it's not too pricey!
sometimes my craving just cant wait for the lobster season to come!

Heather said...

I've just bought frozen cheap lobster for the second time. The first time I made lobster artichoke pesto baked dip. GOOD. This time I'm not sure, but maybe in a few weeks when I can eat dairy again I'll try your lovely risotto!

Oh, and it made everything in my freezer stink to high heaven of fish. Even my popsicles. Yuck.

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