Seafood feast at home

IMG_7697

Me coming home to visit is usually a good enough reason in my family to break out the bubbly and have a seafood feast! It’s important to celebrate the times we’re all together and make them special so we take every opportunity we get.

It may not be seafood every time we have a feast, but it’s quite often the case. We had this fabulous meal in December when I last visited and it was just wonderful, and the type of food we enjoy cooking, and eating, together.

We started with oysters, that were quite difficult to shuck without an oyster knife (we’d left it in the summer house), so we all did a few each. Good team effort, they’re quite strong the little molluscs. We had the oysters in the most simple, and our preferred, way with just lemon juice and Tabasco. What a treat!

 

IMG_7700

Our second course (although that sounds too fancy for peeling prawns) was smoked Atlantic prawns with home-made mayonnaise (a team effort by dad and me), which I just love. The taste is much more complex than fresh prawns and although it may sound strange to smoke prawns, it really works.

IMG_7702

We had a really nice bottle of bubbly, to drink, a Marquis de Haux Cremant de Bordeaux. It’s not readily available in Sweden, but shouldn’t be hard to find in the UK or the rest of Europe.

IMG_7704

For the main event, we had lobster. Something we usually only have as a starter, but I love it as a main course too. Again it was a team effort getting the food ready. I made the skin-on oven fries (that turned out great by the way), and was also in charge of picking the lobsters apart while mum made the lovely sauce. Good effort, team!

IMG_7708

This is our family version of lobster Thermidor with mushrooms, mustard. cognac and matured cheese and we all find it divine. When we think of something special to eat at home, this is always a contender. Most often we have it as a starter, rather than as a main, but after this meal I find it quite likely we’ll have it as a main-course more often than not.

As these were fresh lobster it was almost (but only almost) a sacrilege to coat them in a creamy sauce, so we all had a claw au natural with a dollop of mayonnaise to really taste the lobster.

IMG_7715

We had a lot of lovely food over the Christmas break, but this was my absolute favourite meal. We just had such a good time cooking together and dining together.

Homemade mayonnaise, serves 3-4

1 egg yolk, at room temperature 

1 tsp dijon mustard

1 tsp white wine vinegar

approx 200 ml vegetable oil

1/2 lemon

salt, white pepper

Most important when making your own mayonnaise: 

  1. All ingredients (especially the egg and the oil) should be at room temperature 
  2. Whisk by hand, usng a balloon whisk (gives a better texture)
  3. Season to taste

Mix egg yolk, dijon and vinegar in a bowl. Whisk it together using a balloon whisk and add the oil drop by drop while whisking. Once the mixture has thickened you can add the oil in a little trickle, whisking continuously. Whisk until you have a thick and pale mayonnaise. Season to taste with lemon, white pepper and plenty of salt. Sprinkle a little paprika on top (to decorate) before serving. 

Skin-on oven fries, serves 4

800 g firm potatoes (Maris Piper is great)

2-3 tbsp vegetable oil

salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 180-200C, with the fan on. Wash the potatoes and then cut into sticks. Rinse away the starch. Pour the oil into a large oven-proof tray and add the potato sticks. Add plenty of salt and pepper. Massage the oil into the potato sticks using your hands and spread them out on the tray. Bake in the oven for approx 35 minutes or until crispy, golden and blistery on the outside and cooked through. 

A fabulous last meal

My last evening in Sweden happened to be a Monday night, but we did not let that stop our family to enjoy a New Year’s Eve worthy supper.

Mother pulled out all the stops with Lobster Thermidor, that the whole family loves, followed by wild duck, boiled potatoes, creamy sauce and broccoli pared with a lovely bottle of Italian red.

Safe to say I left Sweden very happy! 🙂

My mother usually cooks the duck quite done by cooking it for hours so it is very tender. But since I love red meat and she loves me, she cooked it pink this time. I ate the redest bits and it was lovely and tender.

As for the wine, it was a 2007 Masi Campofiorin, that I know almost nothing about, but it was a lovely bottle. Very easy to drink also after the meal.

Lobster Thermidor is a very classic dish, and it hasn’t featured on the blog before although I have made it a few times. Unfortunately there are as many recipes as there are cooks, so my version is not even the same as my mother’s. Instead of a full recipe I will give you a little idea of how to make it, so you can take your own twist on it:

Lobster Thermidor

Use half a lobster per person. Cut the cooked lobsters in half lengthways and remove the meat. Rinse the shells and place them in a baking tray. Try to get the claws out of the shells whole if you can and use it for decoration, or just chop it up with the other lobster meat.

Fry sliced button mushrooms. In another pan make a roux and add cream until you have a thick bechamel. Season with cognac, fish or seafood stock, dijon mustard, maybe some parsley or cayenne pepper, salt and pepper. Add the mushrooms and the lobster meat towards the end and fill the shells. Sprinkle grated strong cheese on top and place in oven, 200C, for about 15 minutes or until the cheese is golde brown. Serve with bread and tuck in.