Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Sherried Lobster with Penne

It's not often that I get a gift of lobster, but last Chanukah that's what my sister gave me--specifically two well-wrapped frozen lobster tails. I put them in my freezer and, I'm embarrassed to say, kind of forgot about them. Whenever I had to move the package to get something else I would make a mental note to take them out soon and figure out a way to enjoy them, but days turned into weeks, then months.

But then, finally, I did just that. I let them defrost in the refrigerator overnight, then unwrapped them. To say there were well preserved is an understatement. It must have taken an engineering degree to get them this well protected and I wish I'd had that same degree to extricate them. Finally, I got the wrapping removed and there were these two gorgeous red-and-black lobster tails. I'm going to guess that each was about half a pound.

I already had some ideas of what to do with them. The weather was hot so I wasn't keen on turning on the broiler. Boiling? Nah. So, I thought I'd remove the meat from the shell, chop it into large chunks, then saute it all in olive oil, minced garlic, sherry, and a knob of butter for flavor at the end. Then I'd toss the meat with this sauce with whole wheat penne.

I found, though, that the lobster meat had ideas of its own. Namely that it didn't want to separate from the shell. While I was searching around for some kind of tip to accomplish this, the lobster sat on the counter for perhaps five minutes. I couldn't find anything useful so went back to the tails to try again. And, surprisingly, this time they easily yielded. So, my guess is that when you try this in your kitchen let the lobster rest at room temperature for about five minutes before removing the meat from the shell. And, don't toss the shells. Put them in a freezer bag and add other shells like those from shrimp and store in the freezer to make a seafood broth later.

After that, it was all pretty easy. First, put the water for the pasta to boil and when ready, add the pasta. Then turn to cooking the lobster. Saute the garlic in oil until it's fragrant. Then add the lobster pieces. After a couple of minutes add enough sherry to make a sauce. Let the lobster cook in the liquid until it's just cooked through. Add the butter and stir well. You can also add red pepper flakes and/or herbs and spices to make it your own--but not so much that you overpower the lobster. By this time the pasta should be cooked through. Drain and add it to the lobster and sauce. Mix well, then divide into a couple of bowls.

I also added some chopped cherry peppers to the dish. You could add chopped sugar snap peas or other vegetables. The big chunks of lobster were sweet and decadent, elevated by the luxuriousness of butter and sherry and the fragrant garlic. The penne sopped up the rich sauce. Be sure to have a hank of sourdough bread so you don't leave a drop.

Sherried Lobster with Penne
(printable recipe)
Serves 2

2 meaty lobster tails (about 8 ounces each), removed from the shell and chopped into bite-size pieces
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 large cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1/3 to 1/2 cup sherry
1 tablespoon butter
salt to taste
red pepper flakes (optional)
4 ounces whole wheat penne

Fill a large pot with cold water and bring to a boil. Add the penne and a tablespoon or so of salt. Cook per directions.

While the penne is cooking, heat oil in a saute pan. Add garlic and saute until fragrant--about a minute. Add the lobster and after a couple of minutes add the sherry and red pepper flakes and any vegetables. Reduce the temperature to low, add the butter and stir well. Add salt to taste.

When the penne is finished cooking, drain and add the pasta to the lobster and sauce. Stir well and plate.

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