Barbecued Lobster with Sea Vegetable and Potato Salad
Portion/Yield:Serves 2 as a main course
Long before we had the pub, Mr P and I used to make regular visits and foodie pilgrimages to Suffolk. We found the Suffolk coastline most intriguing and we fell in love with the abundant food that the county had to offer from both the land and the sea. We have met some wonderful people along the way, and we bought the most delicious seafood from Pinney’s of Orford – their lobsters are simply magnificent.
This barbecued lobster recipe is something special. It’s the kind of dish I cook when I want to impress someone. I wrap the lobster in soaked cedar wood sheets and then cook it on the barbecue. The results are fantastic as the lobster steams inside the wood sheets while it is being lightly smoked at the same time. The secret is that the barbecue must be fairly cool so that it cooks slowly before the soaked wood dries out and catches fire.
Ingredients & Method
For the barbecued lobster
- 1 fresh lobster (about 450g)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cedar wood sheets, soaked in cold water for 1 hour, then drained
- a good handful of fresh herb sprigs, such as savoury, thyme and rosemary
- 4 asparagus spears, trimmed
For the sea vegetable and potato salad
- a splash of olive oil
- 150g samphire
- 2 rashers smoked back bacon
- 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon wholegrain mustard
- 8 new potatoes, skin on, boiled and cooled
- 2 tablespoons podded and blanched broad beans
- 2 tablespoons sea purslane
- sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Preheat the barbecue to a mild/low heat.
For the barbecued lobster, bring a large pan of water to the boil (make sure that the lobster fits in the pan before you start!). Once the water is boiling rapidly, place the lobster in and cover the pan with a lid. Cook for 4 minutes, then remove the lobster, remove the tail from the body (I wear thick rubber gloves to protect my hands) and return the claws to the boiling water for a further 3 minutes. Cool both the tail and the claws in iced water.
Prepare the tail: crush the shell with your hands – this will make serving easy and ensure that the smoke penetrates the tail. Brush the tail with some of the oil, then place it on 1 of the drained soaked cedar wood sheets, together with about two-thirds of the fresh herb sprigs. Wrap the cedar wood around the lobster and herbs and secure with kitchen string.
Prepare the claws: use a small light hammer to remove the shell from the claw meat. Glaze the meat with the remaining oil, place the asparagus and the remaining herbs on the second soaked cedar wood sheet with the lobster meat, then wrap the mixture up in the cedar wood and secure with kitchen string.
Cook the parcels over a mild/low heat on the barbecue for about 10–12 minutes. I like to cook them on the cooler parts of the barbecue so that the soaked wood does not dry out too quickly nor burn too fast (if you are using a barbecue with a lid, then use the lid to encourage the smoking).
Meanwhile, prepare the sea vegetable and potato salad. Heat a splash of olive oil in a medium non-stick frying pan and sauté the samphire over a high heat for 2 minutes, then remove to a plate. In the same pan, cook the bacon rashers for 4–5 minutes until cooked and crispy, then remove to a plate. Deglaze the pan with the vinegar, extra virgin olive oil and the mustard to form the vinaigrette. Cut the cooked potatoes in half and mix with the warm vinaigrette. Chop the bacon and mix with the potatoes, along with the broad beans and samphire. Add half of the sea purslane and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve the smoked lobster (either as sealed parcels or unwrapped) on serving plates with the potato and sea vegetable salad, and garnish with the rest of the sea purslane.
To cook the lobster parcels in the oven (instead of barbecuing them), prepare the parcels as above, then place them on a baking sheet and bake in a preheated oven at 200°C/Gas Mark 6 for 10–15 minutes. Serve with the potato salad as above.