Thursday, July 12, 2012

RECIPE - Alagoas-style Lobster Tail with Amaranth (Casquinha de Lagosta ao Bredo de Alagoas)

Yesterday we posted a very down-home recipe for green amaranth (bredo in Portuguese) in a creamy coconut-milk sauce. Although there's no proof, it's likely that the dish, or something very similar to it, has been cooked in the kitchens of Northeast Brazil for centuries.

Today, we're taking a look at a very contemporary take on that simple but delicious recipe, a creation of chef Odair Silva of the Hotel Radisson in Maceió, the capital of the almost-but-not-quite smallest Brazilian state of Alagoas. It was recently published in an article featuring the cuisine of  Maceió in Brazilian food and wine magazine Prazeres da Mesa.

Chef Silva combines the distinctly downmarket green with luxurious lobster tail, an ingredient as prized, and expensive, in Brazil as it is in other corners of the world. Brazilian lobster is a type of rock lobster, similar to lobsters found in tropical waters around the world. It is different from its cold-water cousin, the clawed, or New England lobster, though either kind of lobster can be used in this dish.
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RECIPE - Alagoas-style Lobster Tail with Amaranth  (Casquinha de Lagosta ao Bredo de Alagoas)
Serves 2

2 lobster tails
1 bunch green amaranth (can substitute spinach or collard greens)
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 small green bell pepper, seeded and diced
1/4 small red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 green onion, green part only, minced
1/3 cup bechamel sauce
1/3 cup coconut milk
grated parmesan cheese, to taste
salt and pepper to taste
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Lobster:
Slice open the lobster tails on the ventral side. Extract the meat and cut into small strips. Reserve the meat in the refrigerator. Bring plenty of water to the boil in a medium sauce pan, add the shells and cook at a slow boil for 30-25 minutes. Drain and when cool, cut away the ventral part of the shells, leaving only the dorsal portion. Reserve.

In a medium frying pan, heat the olive oil, then fry half of the onion plus the garlic until the onion is just softened. Add the chopped green and red peppers, fry for a minute more, then stir in the bechamel sauce. Reduce heat, then add the strips of lobster meat and cook for about 15 minutes. Add parmesan, then salt and pepper to taste. Reserve, keeping warm.

Amaranth:
Wash the leaves, then boil in plenty of salted water for 15 minutes. Drain and reserve. In a frying pan melt the unsalted butter. Fry the remaining onion for a few minutes, then add the cooked amaranth. Cook for a minute or two, then add the coconut milk, reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Serving:
Reheat the lobster briefly if required. Divide the lobster between the two shells. Divide the creamed amaranth between two ramekins or small coconut shells. Put one lobster tail and one portion of amaranth on each of two plates. Sprinkle the chopped green onion over all and serve hot.

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