While the population here in Boston is being hit by this "Snowpocalypse," as everyone likes to call it, some of us aren't complaining about going home early on Friday, snuggling up with our pets (if you have one - I don't, so I am snuggling myself. Can you tell I want a dog?), and kicking back with a beer. And inevitably, snowy weather will call for comfort food, as comfortable as one's waistband will allow. This is semi-embarrassing, but I recently started watching that new show, The Taste, which is hosted by celebrity chefs Anthony Bourdain, Nigella Lawson, Ludo Lefebvre, and Brian Malarkey and operates in the same manner as The Voice.
Don't watch The Voice? I don't blame you. The premise is this: hopeful contestants have one hour to prepare one spoonful of their food to a panel of four judges, the four mentioned above. The judges vote yes or no to have the contestant on their team. If selected, they will continue to compete and have the opportunity to be coached by the chef who chose them. If they are selected by more than one judge, the contestant will have the honor of choosing whose team they wish to be on.
So far, the chefs have picked their teams and have had one real competition, in which the challenge was to make comfort food. One of the contestants, Khristianne Uy, is already becoming one of my favorites. (She also happens to be Charlie Sheen's personal chef. Weird, right?). She made this delicious sounding Filipino coconut seafood stew, luxurious but comforting, and although hers was much more upscale than this one, I knew I had to make my own version. So I bought a lobster.
In the absence of the dog that I want soooooooooo much, I gently carried home this lobster and immediately put him in the sink where he unhappily scrambled around for a while. I then proceeded to have a lobster photoshoot, for which he patiently sat still (good Lobsty!). Isn't he so cute? It was a shame to eat him.
But I digress. Now, onto the food!
Ingredients (makes two portions):
- 1 small lobster
- 1 lb shrimp, peeled and de-veined
- 8oz coconut milk
- 2 tbsp fish sauce
- 2 cross sections fresh ginger root
- 2 servings asian noodles (I used dried ones that slightly resemble ramen. This is also optional for those who are not inclined towards gluten)
- 2 tbsp red curry paste
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 jalapeno, minced
- 1/2 stalk lemongrass
- 1/2 lime
- small bunch cilantro leaves
- optional vegetables: snow peas, bok choi, spinach. I used fresh corn kernels and bamboo.
- chili oil, for drizzling
First, make the lobster stock. In a large pot, place 2 quarts water, ginger, lemongrass (chopped into long pieces and bruised with the blunt side of your knife), and lime peel into the water. Over high heat, bring this to a boil. When it's nice and hot, drop your lobster in, head first, and cover to steam.
After 10 minutes of steaming with the lid on, remove the lid to reveal your bright red lobster. Remove the lobster (be careful, it's hot!).
Turn the burner down to medium-low, so that the stock is still simmering. As quickly as you can, remove the claw, knuckle, and tail meat from the lobster. Do this over a bowl, so that any juices run into the bowl. As you peel the meat from the shell, throw the shells back into the stock pot and let it boil away with the lid off. The soup should reduce to about half the liquid that was there before.
When the stock is done (approximately 20-30 minutes of simmering), start to prepare your noodle soup. Finely mince 2 cloves of garlic and jalapeno. In a little bit of olive oil, brown your shrimp on each side, then set aside. Feel free to use the same pot that you're going to make the noodles in.
You should now have a beautiful bowl full of shrimp and lobster set aside.
Now, back to the same soup pot. Over medium heat, saute your minced garlic and jalapeno. Then, add the red curry paste, stirring to distribute. Next, add the fish sauce. It won't smell good but it will be worth it! Next, stir in the coconut milk, about 3/4 of the can. Using a ladle, spoon in about equal amounts of the lobster stock. Bring this to a simmer, and taste. If it's too salty, add the rest of the coconut milk in with more broth. If it's not salty enough, add more fish sauce, to taste. Feel free to adjust the balance of coconut milk and lobster stock to your liking.
Once this is achieved, add in your vegetables. Bok choi, spinach, or any hearty greens will do great. I used fresh corn kernels for their sweetness and bamboo shoots, for a bit of crunch. Also add half of the bunch of cilantro leaves. Bring this to a simmer, if not already, and add in your noodles.
Cook the noodles until they are almost al dente. Then, carefully add in your lobster and shrimp. Keep cooking until everything is heated evenly and the noodles attain your desired consistency.
Serve up in wide, shallow bowls. Serve immediately with fresh cilantro, generous drizzles of chili oil, and wedges of lime. Enjoy!