Our friend Ryan gave great gifts this Christmas. A subscription to Taste magazine – one of SA’s best foodie bibles. And two splendid rock lobsters – that he dived for himself. With temps here as high as 36/96 – the thought of eating anything hot yesterday just didn’t sit right. So I decided to use what we already had to hand (New Year’s intention # 3).
Gazpacho is one of my favourite soups.I had loads of fresh tomatoes, a couple of sweet peppers, jumbo garlic (which is milder and not as pungent as the regular bulb) and a big cucumber. There’s always olive oil and sherry vinegar in the store cupboard and my mom had left half a baguette in a brown bag on the shelf – and it had obliged by going nicely stale in the heat. Putting the soup together took a couple of minutes: I skinned the tomatoes and chopped everything else, and threw it all in a blender. I checked it for seasoning a couple of times, added in extra olive oil and vinegar. Then I sieved it twice to get all the bits out as I wanted a smooth, silky base. I generally guess proportions for the ingredients – but for a great recipe check out Jamie Oliver’s dead simple one here.
Once the soup was well chilled – I added crunchy veggies (which I blanched): sweet baby corn (cut from the cob) and chopped green string beans, plus fresh cubed baby tomatoes and gherkin cucumbers.
I topped it all with a generous glug of peppery virgin olive oil and a sprinkling of baby basil (left over from New Year’s eve … not a usual member of my veggie drawer). It was savoury, salty, sweet and delicious.
Then the lobsters. I boiled them in heavily salted water. Cooking whole lobster can seem daunting – but it’s really easy. There are various guides on how to do this – so check them out before you get started (I like Charlie from East Coast Gourmet on Seafood). Our lobsters had been frozen and defrosted – so I cooked them for 12 minutes and they were perfect. Sofabrother did the dismembering and separated out the two plump tails.
Taking the easy way out – I used store-bought real-egg mayo and added a liberal handful of lemon zest, some chopped ginger, pepper, a squeeze of lemon and a dash of horseradish. The tart mixes well with the sweet flesh of the lobster. Threw together a quick salad, and dinner was served.
Dessert was a handful of cherries, icy cold from the fridge eaten straight from the punnet. Glorious spread and top to lobster tail took me 35 minutes to prep. Perfect after a lazy day.