Recently I’ve been having this urge to cook lobster. Lobster… anything! I initially wanted to make a lobster roll, then I went to Signor Sassi in London and had a variety of lobster dishes. I eventually settled for making lobster spaghetti in tomato sauce and a lobster version of the Sang Har Tong Fun (big head prawn with glass noodles in wine soup). I’ve done a little research online on how to make this dish. A lot of chefs tend to boil the lobsters and then remove the meat to cook in the tomato sauce. The carcass of the lobster usually goes into a shellfish stock or a bisque later on. I do it a little differently, and I firmly believe that the lobster flavours are able to come out in all its glory this way. Obviously it would involve cooking the shell and head in the sauce ;D.Ingredients (for 2-3 pax)
- Half a lobster (this is of a larger lobster)
- 10g salted butter
- 2-3 thin slices of ginger about an inch in diameter and about 2-3 mm in width
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh basil
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- 2 tbsp chopped onion or shallots
- 1 tbsp chopped garlic
- 1/2 cup chicken stock (best if you have shellfish stock but chicken is fine too)
- 1/2 cup tomato puree
- 1/2 cup diced tomatoes preferably with herbs and garlic in them
- 2-3 pinches of chilli flakes
- 1 tsp sugar and another 1tsp in case the pasta needs a little more sweetness
- 200g pasta (or around 1/3 of a 500g package of pasta) – spaghetti is slightly too thick so I used San Remo’s vermiccili pasta. Instant spaghetti by San Remo’s will do as well.
- Dash of dried oregano
- Salt, black pepper
Prepare the lobster (prepare yourself I meant…. cutting that thing into half is no joke! It’s all spiny and painful! Coupled with a very tough shell, you may need a lot of strength to cut the head into two… or a very heavy object to help get that cleaver through). I suggest you use a towel to protect your hands from the lobster’s myriad spikes and a pair of strong kitchen scissors to cut through the tail end of the lobster.After a lot of effort… finally..See all that golden stuff?? That’s where the flavour’s at!Heat up some oil in the pan and fry the onions, ginger and garlic.
Add the lobster, brain side down, and let it fry for a minute (do not let the meat sear! It should be on medium fire), before adding the wine to the mix. I wanted to try to flambe the lobster, but the kitchen is so small and I was worried I might singe something so I just put the alcohol into the pan and let the alcohol cook off. This step is where you draw out the flavours in the lobster into the broth.
Add the stock. Cook the lobster for about a couple more minutes in the stock before removing from the mixture.
Add the diced tomato, tomato, chilli flakes, some salt, pepper and oregano to the lobster broth.
Remove the meat from the lobster shell. You can see that it isn’t cooked through and this is what we want as we will add the lobster meat back in to be cooked fully along with the pasta noodles. Otherwise we’ll have dry, overcooked chunks of lobster, which is a waste of such an expensive ingredient.
Place the lobster shell back into the tomato sauce mixture and simmer until the sauce is reduced and thickened like so. Then add the butter and mix in. I stuffed the sauce into the lobster shell to get the most of that lobster goodness!
At the same time, start cooking your pasta in boiling water with some salt. Cook it about 2 minutes less than the instructions stated in the packet because you’ll finish cooking the pasta in the sauce.
Get the chopped basil and parsley ready. Add the lobster chunks back into the tomato sauce probably a couple of minutes before adding the pasta so that it’s cooked just right by the end of the whole process.
Drain the pasta (but not too much as we need some of that pasta water… about 2-3 tbsps or so) and add it directly into the sauce. I forgot to mention, remove the lobster shell before you add the pasta in, otherwise it’s going to be a struggle to toss the pasta in the sauce. Place the shell in the serving dish, it will serve as an aesthetic component.
Toss the pasta over low-medium fire so that the sauce gets incorporated into the noodles. Add the basil and parsley and toss a little more. Check on the seasoning and add more salt/pepper/sugar as you wish.
Place the pasta on the serving dish, top off with the lobster chunks, more parsley and some cheese.
If you like your spaghetti with more sauce, just add more puree and white wine but make sure you season accordingly. You also don’t want the sauce to be too wet otherwise it won’t stick to the noodle very well.
Will most likely make it again as I have another lobster in the freezer! Happy to say my brother seemed to enjoy it. He ate three quarters of it by himself.
Here’s a video that I think quite closely reflects how I cooked it: