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How to cook like an Italian

Lobster Fra Diavolo

Ahhh, the Fra Diavolo dishes…literally translated from Italian to English to mean “from the devil” and when translated from Italian to the language of food, means extra spicy hot!  You can find all sorts of dishes cooked in this style-see Rach’s Seafood Stoup Fra Diavolo which is not quite thin enough to be a soup and not quite thick enough to be a stew and oh so delicioso!

Rach’s Seafood Stoup Fra Diavolo

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 1 pound sea scallops, trimmed and patted dry
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 6 anchovy fillets
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (1/3 palmful)
  • 1/2 cup dry sherry, white wine or dry vermouth (eyeball it)
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 1 cup seafood stock or chicken stock
  • 1 pound large shrimp, deveined and tails removed
  • 1 pound turbot, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, shredded or torn
  • Grated peel of 1 lemon
  • Crusty bread, to pass around the table

Preparation

In a large, deep skillet, heat the EVOO, four turns of the pan, over medium-low heat. Add the scallops in a single layer, season with salt and pepper and cook, turning once, for 2 minutes on each side. Transfer to a plate. Add the garlic, anchovies and crushed red pepper to the skillet and cook until the anchovies dissolve.

Add the sherry to the skillet and reduce slightly. Add the tomato sauce and stock and bring to a boil. Season the shrimp and fish with salt and pepper, add to the sauce and simmer until opaque, 6-7 minutes. Stir in the scallops, basil and lemon peel. Serve the stoup in shallow bowls with the bread.

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While this is a delicious dish, I was recently blown away by a Lobster Fra Diavolo dish I had at Ed’s Lobster Bar in NYC.  Luscious pieces of lobster meat atop a big bed of linguine, that’s my idea of heaven.  This dish is really not that hard to make, but you need to have fresh and delicious lobster to make it a little plate of perfection.  Here’s Emeril Lagasse’s recipe from Food Network (photo from Ed’s):

Emeril Lagasse’s Lobster Fra Diavolo

Ingredients

  • 1 pound fettucine
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 cup small diced onion
  • 2 teaspoons shallots
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 cups canned tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 pound blanched lobster meat, from claws and tails
  • 1 cup lobster stock, recipe follows
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more for pasta water
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • Fresh basil leaves, to garnish

Directions

Bring a large 1-gallon pot of salted water to a boil, and place the pasta in the pot. Cook for 5 minutes and then drain; pasta will be only partially cooked. As the pasta cooks, set a large saute pan over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add the onions to the pan and cook until lightly caramelized and wilted, about 2 minutes. Add the shallots and garlic to the pan and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the red pepper flakes and saute briefly before adding the tomato sauce and tomato paste. Cook the sauce until reduced by about half, about 5 minutes. Add the lobster to the pan and cook for 2 minutes. Add the partially cooked pasta to the pan along with 1 cup lobster stock and continue to cook the pasta in the sauce until al dente, about 3 to 4 minutes. Season the pasta with the salt and toss to combine. Garnish with fresh basil

Lobster Stock:

  • 3 (1 1/4 pound) lobsters, blanched, cooled and shells cracked with lobster claw and tail meat removed
  • 1/8 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 ribs celery, quartered
  • 2 tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, peeled and quartered
  • 1 carrot, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 small bulb fennel
  • 1 head garlic
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Water, to cover

Instructions

In a large stockpot, heat the oil. Add the shells and stir. Cook for about 5 minutes. Add the celery, tomatoes, onion, carrot and thyme. Cut the fennel bulb in half and add to the pot. Cut the garlic head in half horizontally and add to the pot. Add enough water to cover the ingredients by about 2 inches. Season with salt and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the liquid has reduced by half, about 4 hours.

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Both of these dishes are perfect for Christmas Eve if you plan to celebrate Italian-Style with the Feast of Seven Fishes!

Now, you might want to know when is it a good time of year to buy lobsters.  According to MElobster.com, Maine’s site for literally all you could possibly want to know about lobsters,including how to put them to sleep (for a nap I guess?) and why they turn red when they are cooked,

“Q: Is there a particular time of year when lobster is in season, or when the prices for lobster are lower than at other times of the year?

A: With a few small exceptions (small areas), there is not a “lobster fishing season” in Maine, therefore Maine Lobsters are readily available year round. There are, however, times when hard-shell lobsters are in short supply, and there is certainly a “season” when Maine Lobster prices are higher.

While lobsters don’t shed their shells according to a set schedule, they do have a tendency to shed in the beginning of July, and again around the end of December. Therefore, around the 4th of July, and again around Christmas, it may be a bit more difficult to find hard-shell lobster if that is your preference.

The price of lobster, like most prices, is ruled by supply and demand. Most of Maine’s winter tourist attractions are in inland parts of the state, such as skiing, snowboarding, and snowmobiling. On the coast, where the lobsters come from, the tourist season starts Memorial Day weekend, and you can expect a rapid increase in prices. The season ends with Labor Day weekend, and that’s when the prices drop again.”

and here’s another site with some helpful advice from LobsterHelp.com, a site with tons of info on buying lobsters, fresh vs frozen and more tips.


One Response to “Lobster Fra Diavolo”

  1. Deborah says:

    Wow I really learned alot here about lobsters and Fra Diavolo. I think I will Fra Diavolo through this winter to keep my toes toasty. I know I know I live in Texas. But to us Texans cold is cold anywhere. lol. Thanks for the postings. Deborah

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