Lobster Calderetta

Mitch Tonks runs RockFish Grill & Seafood Market in Clifton, Bristol. He is an award-winning chef, restaurateur and food writer and has two other seafood restaurants in Dartmouth.

Here’s the Catch

With sustainable fishing top on the agenda, each month new flavour columnist and seafood specialist Mitch Tonks cooks up a storm with his seasonal fish of choice…

This is prime time for native lobsters – not to be missed. If you’re thinking of celebrations, summer parties, a treat of a meal from the ocean there are a few things that might come to mind – oysters, large turbot, wild prawns, Dover sole, diver-caught scallops, maybe caviar – but often lobster features in that list. Lobsters are pretty much always an expensive choice (avoid them at Christmas, prices are ridiculous and often they won’t be native anyway but Canadian). If you don’t mind a claw missing ask your fishmonger for a ‘cripple’, it will be cheaper and taste the same as one with two claws!

Lobster is all about sweetness and texture so it is important not to overcook it as it will become tough and you will lose half of its experience. The claw, tail and brown meat all have different characteristics, the brown meat being rich and creamy, the tail meat firm and juicy and the claw is more smooth and sweet. The best way to enjoy lobster in my mind is to halve it, lay it flesh down on the barbecue for a couple of minutes then turn over and cover with garlic butter and continue on the barbecue for another couple of minutes only. You get the delicious sweetness and the taste of the sea from the lobster this way, so simple but really showcases why lobster is so sought after.

Lobster Calderetta

(serves 2)
1 lobster weighing about 750g
1 red pepper
1 green Pepper
3 cloves garlic
4 tomatoes, finely chopped
Pinch saffron
1 Jar fish soup
1 small dried birdseye chilli
Handful finely chopped parsley
Glass white wine
Splash of brandy
Olive oil

  1. First blanch the lobster in boiling salted water for 5 minutes and then cool.
  2. In a food processor finely chop the peppers and garlic.
  3. Remove the claws from the lobster and crack.
  4. Then split it in half and scrape out any dark meat inside and reserve.
  5. Chop into chunks. In a large pan add the olive oil and fry the chopped peppers and garlic gently for 5 minutes, add the lobster and cook for another 5 minutes, add the brandy and boil off the alcohol then add the wine and do the same, add the saffron, chilli and tomatoes and then add a cup of fish soup and 3 cups of water, add half the parsley, cover and cook gently for 10 minutes.
  6. Now add the reserved brown meat from the lobster and with the lid off cook for a further 10 minutes, sprinkle over the remaining parsley and serve.

Recipe taken from FISH by Mitch Tonks published by Pavilion. Recipe photo by Ed Ovenden.
© Mitch Tonks Fishmonger, food writer, restaurateur

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