I can’t quite believe August is upon us. Not a great summer thus far, to be sure. Already the evenings have an autumnal lick about them and our magnificent Suffolk skies, tower and brood with alternate gatherings of seasonal cumulus and rain-heralding cumulonimbus, in between bursts of warmth and lashing precipitation over a sodden and interrupted harvest.
Out at sea things are changing too. A previous wealth of lobsters in the pots on the coast here has given way to a dearth and fish are now few and far between. It’s usual, (I’m assured) for this time of year and that come early September, normality will be resumed and Homarus gammarus will be on the crawl once more.
However, in other parts of the country they’re still being landed in delicious abundance of course and just because my own creels aren’t providing right now, doesn’t mean an end to the lobster extravaganza of Summer ’17. Having managed to secure a couple of decent Southwold wreck-caught lobsters, I’ve turned this month, to fellow food blogger, photographer, recipe developer and half of the legendary duo running the unique Crabstock and 2 Smoking Lobsters pop-up seafood restaurant, Andy Hunting, who has willingly provided this months moreish little offering.
This recipe is another great way of make a little lobster go a long way and for impressing your guests as an accompaniment to a few well chilled glasses of bubbles, I can’t think of anything better!
Poached Lobster in Lettuce Cups with Lemon Parsley Butter – Andy Hunting
I do a lot of cookery demos across the UK promoting UK seafood & shellfish, and sometimes I get some mystery ingredients from my partner at Crabstock, Adrian Bartlett. I then get challenged to create a dish live on stage using whatever I have left from my other dishes.
This particular recipe came from one of these challenges, I had been demoing some dishes using crab, mackerel and scallops and then all of a sudden I am shown a fantastic native lobster, which was already cooked, and had 2 minutes to think up a dish and then 10 minutes to cook and serve.
Luckily I had plenty of salad items, and little gem lettuce, once the outer leaves are separated make fantastic serving vessels, so this recipe is a perfect canapé or starter, and this is now a dish that I create on my demos, but I sometimes use scallops, or white crab meat.
So the ingredient quantities are all dependent on the size of lobster that you have, you want each little cup to have a nice bite-sized piece of succulent lobster.
1 Native UK Lobster, cooked and meat picked and cut into bite sized pieces
2 Little Gem lettuce
Red Onion, finely sliced
Cherry tomatoes, cut into quarters
Cucumber, deseeded and finely diced
1 pack of salted butter
large bunch of fresh parsley, chop most of it but leave some for garnish
Firstly prepare your lettuce, cut off the stalk and then peel away the outer leaves, until you get to the point where the inner leaves are too small to use. But don’t throw these away as they can be used in salads, or thinly slice and use in these cups. Lay each individual cup onto a platter.
Now comes the fun part, into each lettuce cup, place a selection of the tomato, onion, and cucumber. Don’t overfill and make sure that each cup has the same amount. You can get really arty with this and make it look really pretty. You could now put these in the fridge and use later, if you wanted to do this prep in the morning.
Take the butter out of the packet and place in a large saucepan, and melt over a very low heat, you don’t want the butter to take on any colour.
Once melted, take off the heat, put in the chopped parsley and the juice of 1 lemon. Add seasoning and taste, adjust the seasoning as required.
Once you are happy with the butter sauce and the bite sized lobster pieces to the butter, and place back over a low heat, very carefully just stir the lobster until each piece is covered in butter, and has just warmed through.
Take the lobster butter mix off the heat and carefully spoon a piece off lobster into each cup.
Once each lettuce cup has got a piece off lobster, drizzle the lemon & parsley butter over each cup, but not too much.
Now garnish with more chopped parsley and serve.
The beauty of this dish is you can play around with the salad items, the world is your oyster (excuse the pun), try adding diced peppers, a bit of chilli, fennel, replace the parsley with dill and so on.
Thank you Andy!
A really delightful and summery dish which which I found incredibly easy and quick to put together. As Andy says, variations in the ingredients can bring a different and fragrant slant to it and in my case I chose to use fresh coriander which was incredibly aromatic and the addition of a little chopped red chilli enlivening!