For a thorough education on seafood sustainability, sourcing and cookery, look no further than chef-author Barton Seaver. His new widely endorsed collection of recipes addresses overfishing and overcooking, responsible purchasing and innovative preparation, all in one glorious tome. Pick up a copy, a fillet knife and a pair of claw crackers — tonight is fish night!
This Catalan dish (pronounced rose-ay-YACHT), which artfully combines rich shellfish, toasty pasta, and plenty of aioli, is my favorite recipe in this entire book. It is easy and so unique — a perfect recipe for entertaining. The noodles are toasted and then simmered in the lobster cooking liquid before a quick turn under the broiler. Under that final blast of heat, the tips of the noodles curl up and char slightly, adding a pleasant bitterness and crisp texture to the dish.
- 1 pound spaghetti
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided use
- 6 cups water
- 2 (1-pound) lobsters (preferably new shell)
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon smoked sweet paprika
- 1 bunch fresh herbs, such as chervil or parsley, leaves only
- lemon wedges
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 large clove garlic, grated
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 cups vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon water
For the aioli
Combine the egg yolk, garlic, vinegar and salt in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Place the bowl on a damp towel or have someone hold it for you to keep it steady. While whisking, slowly drizzle in the oil until the sauce emulsifies and thickens. As it thickens, add the water a few drops at a time (this will thin the aioli so that it can take more oil). Continue drizzling and whisking until all the oil has been incorporated. Yes, your arm may be a little tired, but this is definitely worth the effort. Aioli keeps in the refrigerator for up to three days.
If adding herbs to the aioli, simply stir in the chopped herbs after all of the oil has been added. Use herbed aioli within a day, though the herbs can be added to a classic aioli at any time.
For the rossejat
Preheat the oven to 325°F.
Working in small batches, break the spaghetti into roughly 1-inch pieces and place on a baking sheet. Drizzle with 1½ teaspoons olive oil and toss to coat. Bake the noodles, tossing every few minutes, until deep brown all over, 10 to 12 minutes. (Keep a close eye on them as they can go from pale to overdone in no time.) Remove them from the oven and let them cool. If the pasta has cooked a little too much, scrape it onto a cool baking sheet to stop the cooking.
Bring 6 cups lightly salted water to a boil. Add the lobsters and bay leaf and cook for 6 minutes. Remove from the heat, transfer the lobsters to a bowl, and reserve the cooking water. Working over the bowl in order to catch all the juices, remove the meat from the lobsters and place it in a separate bowl. Add the shells (discarding the remaining innards) to the cooking water. Pour the lobster juices through a fine-mesh strainer into the cooking water. Bring to a gentle simmer to further infuse this quick broth.
Preheat the broiler to high.
Heat the remaining olive oil in a large paella or wide enameled pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until the edges begin to brown. Add the paprika and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add the noodles and toss to coat with the oil. Add two cups of the hot lobster broth and bring to an energetic simmer. Do not stir the noodles as they cook. When the broth has been absorbed, add another 2 cups, cooking until absorbed. Add the remaining broth and bring to a full boil. Immediately place the entire pan directly under the broiler. Cook until the noodles have absorbed almost all of the broth, 8 to 10 minutes. The noodles will curl up, and the ends will become crisp.
Remove the pan from the heat and set it aside while you cut the lobster tails into small medallions and the claws in half. Place the meat in neat arrangements around the pan. Place a very large dollop of aioli in the center of the dish and scatter the herbs over the top. Serve with the extra aioli and lemon wedges on the side.