Monday, September 8, 2008

Lobster Chanterelle Pasta with Fiddleheads


Surprises sometimes await you in the wild. Though usually thought of as a springtime delicacy, I found a bunch of fiddleheads the other day while hiking near Snoqualmie Pass. A trail crew had passed through earlier in the summer, clearing brush from a popular destination. The result was a new crop of lady fern fiddleheads growing out of the stumps of the macheted ferns. Fresh chanterelles from a recent foray and a trip to Mutual Fish completed the picture: Fresh fettucini topped with lobster-chanterelle cream sauce and sauteed fiddleheads. Yowwww!

I killed the lobster with a supposedly humane method: numbed it in the freezer for an hour, then took a sharp knife to a point behind its head where lines in the shell form a cross and pierced it quickly. I dunno. The lobster was still moving but maybe that was just nerves.

Next I sauteed the tail and claws in three tablespoons of butter and a tablespoon of olive oil. By the time the meat was cooked the butter-oil mixture was a deep yellow-orange color like a farm-raised egg yolk and flecked with lobster drippings. The meat got set aside and the butter poured into a larger pan in which I sauteed and seasoned a large diced shallot, a couple cloves of minced garlic, and a pound of rough-cut chanterelles. After several minutes of cooking on medium-high I deglazed with a few splashes of sherry, maybe a quarter cup in all, spiced with fresh chopped tarragon and thyme and a good pinch of red pepper flakes, then slowly added a cup of heavy cream, stirring frequently. The cooked lobster meat was then cut up and added back into the sauce before pouring over fresh fettucini with grated parmesan. Chopped parsely and sauteed fiddleheads topped the sauce.

I don't have to tell you it was good, though Marty thinks I'm on a suicide mission with all these cream sauces. Not true. Such an artery-buster did require a good red wine, so I busted out the bottle of Walla Walla Spring Valley Uriah my brother Whit gave me last year. I'm a believer in the French Paradox. Besides, foraging is good exercise.

10 comments:

Salty said...

I have to stop reading this blog first thing in the morning

FoulHooked said...

"I have to stop reading this blog first thing in the morning"

my thoughts exactly. doesnt help that I havent had lobster in years.

Finspot said...

Salty & Foulhooked: I hear you. But for those of us self-taught in the galley, thinking about dinner in the AM is one way to make sure it gets done by the late PM. Actually, this meal kinda took care of itself. I knew I wanted to do something decadent with the chants, and the fiddleheads got me thinking about seafood. We don't eat a lot of lobster around here either--and after what I paid for this single medium-sized specimen I won't be picking up any again soon--but damn was it good! Thanks for reading.

-Fin

Finspot said...

BTW Foulhooked, love those shots of the red-tail taking down various ducks and whatnot on yr blog. Most red-tails don't become bird specialists, so v. cool to see that, and so close at hand. I used to see peregrines with pigeon and starling kills outside my window when I worked in downtown Seattle. Nature is out there!

Audrey said...

Are you kidding me? That looks so flippin' good that I am going to have to forage up some chanterelles on my next trip to the farmers market. And I giggled over the stern-looking man in the top photo frowning down on that plate of pure decadence.

Emily said...

I can't believe you found fiddleheads in the fall - that's sweet! Your chanterelle pasta looks incredible.

SurvivalTopics.com said...

Many plant species that have been disturbed will produce late into the season. For example I am still harvesting young milkweed pods in a field that was recently mowed while in adjacent areas the pods are releasing seeds now.

Hunter Angler Gardener Cook said...

Ooh! Fantastic recipe. Lobsters and chantrelles are a classic combo. Sadly, no chantrelles down here in Cali yet...

Anonymous said...

Seriously, if you were a lobster wouldn't you rather just get it over with than spend an hour in a freezer first?
WT

Finspot said...

I hear you WT. Trying to do the "right thing" is never easy. Next time I might omit the freezing bit and just whack 'em. Also, you might notice the angle of my knife in the photo is wrong. My original source wasn't clear on this, but the linked source illustrates plainly that not only do you want to pierce the lobster at the point where a cross forms, you then want to bring the knife down through the head, bisecting it. All in a very quick, fluid motion.

Ah yes, the omnivore's dilemma.