Lobster boats around the Northern Ireland coast are now in full force for the new season. Nothing cheers the heart like seeing them at sea with the promise that their precious catch will be on the plate that night. Lobster isn’t cheap but a little goes a long way. An effective way is to make ravioli from it and then serve it with a sauce made from leftover shells.
his way of making sure no game is wasted. One of my favorite things to do is pour myself a glass of wine, put some Al Jarreau on the music player, and roll some pasta. It’s satisfying and therapeutic. The results are always an impressive crowd pleaser.
When sourcing seafood like lobster or crab, you must buy them alive. The RSPCA advises putting them in the freezer for 20 minutes to bring them into a catatonic state before cooking. Once cooked, it is fairly easy to crack the shells and remove the meat. If you don’t feel like making ravioli, you can combine the meat with good quality mayonnaise, lemon zest, finely chopped celery, a splash of ketchup and a pinch of brandy to make a lobster cocktail – serve it the old-fashioned way in a glass with shredded lettuce and halved cherry tomatoes.
Beef shank is a cut more associated with a winter broth but it is a tasty and versatile one. After slow braising, the tender meat can be added to pasta dishes, risotto or as the base for a spicy soup with noodles. The recipe here calls for shredded meat to be added to minced potatoes and onions and tossed in butter. The mixture is pressed into a loaf pan and baked until the potatoes are tender. It is then weighed down and cooled overnight. It is sliced and cooked until golden brown and crispy, like a thick layered fry. It is then topped with a roasted onion puree. Micro-herbs are a new way to add a splash of flavor to dishes. Leek sprouts add an extra green onion effect to the dish or you can add the more readily available watercress.
Lobster ravioli with fennel bisque
200g “00” pasta flour
¼ tsp salt
3 egg yolks
Mix flour and salt in a bowl and make a well in the middle. Add the yolks and mix with a little water to make a paste. Knead in the bowl for one minute then wrap in cling film and refrigerate.
1 lobster of about 500g
2 tablespoons chopped chives
Salt and pepper to taste
Place the live lobster in the freezer for 20 minutes before cooking.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and season with salt. Add the lobster and cook for about 8 minutes. Remove from water. Remove the main body from the lobster and press it together, then remove the meat from the shell. Break the claws with a rolling pin and scoop out the flesh. Chop all the lobster meat and mix with the mascarpone and chives. Season as desired. Save the shells for the bisque.
Roll the pasta as thinly as possible and cut into rounds. Place a little stuffing in the middle, brush with a little water and cover with another circle. Seal edges and repeat with remaining batter and filling. Place the ravioli on a baking sheet dusted with semolina or flour. You can roll out the trimmings to produce more pasta.
To cook, bring a pot of water to a boil. Season with salt and cook the ravioli until they float – about one minute.
Serve in bowls and top with bisque.
2 tablespoons oil
1 onion, chopped
1 stalk of celery, chopped
1 teaspoon of fennel seeds
1 tablespoon of tomato puree
100ml double cream
Heat the oil in a skillet until steaming and add the lobster shells. Break them up with a rolling pin. Cook for a few minutes then add the onion and celery and cook for 2 minutes. Add the fennel seeds and tomato purée. Cook for a minute then add the cognac. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Simmer for an hour then strain. Boil the broth until reduced by half and add the cream. Boil until spoon-coated and check seasoning.
Anna crispy potatoes with shank, onion puree and leek shoots
500g of bone in the tibia
1 tablespoon oil
1 stalk of celery
1 tablespoon of tomato puree
500ml beef stock
8 medium potatoes
50g of butter
Salt and pepper
Heat oil in a skillet until smoking. Season the beef with salt and seal it in the skillet. Transfer to a pot. Chop an onion and add it to the pan with the celery. Cook until tender and add the tomato puree and broth. Pour over the shin and cover. Place in a 160°C oven and bake until tender with a fork – about 2 hours. Let the tibia rest then shred the meat. Mix the juices and use for the sauce.
Peel and thinly slice the potatoes and throw them into the shank. Finely chop the remaining onion and add it. Melt the butter and mix well. Season with salt and pepper. Press into a buttered and parchment-lined cake tin. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 180°C for about an hour or until a knife goes through easily. Press down on top and weigh down with another cake tin. Once cooled, place it in the fridge overnight. Remove from pan and slice. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 30 minutes or until golden and crispy.
1 tablespoon oil
Salt and sprigs of fresh thyme
Cut the onions in half – skins and all.
Place on a sheet of aluminum foil. Drizzle with oil and season with salt. Add the thyme and gather it into a bundle. Bake at 180°C for about an hour or until tender. Take the flesh of the onion and blend it into a smooth purée. Check the seasoning. Place on the anna apple slices and garnish with leek shoots.
Paula McIntyre: tropical recipes for summer