Recipe: Black Tagliatelle with Lobster

Black Tagliatelle with Lobster

Ingredients (for two persons, multiply accordingly if you want to prepare this dish for more guests):

Lobster and Sauce:
1 Lobster
2 Onions
2 Carrots
1 Leek
Tomato puree
Dry White Wine

200g white flour (Italian 00-flour or, if not availabe, some other very finely ground wheat-flour)
2 eggs
1 package of squid ink
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 teaspoon of salt

When I got a nice lobster at my favourite fish-dealer the other day, I decided to make something nice of this.
As I got only one lobster, this wasn’t enough for a full meal so I decided to do it with noodles.

Every part of the lobster is used for this recipe, there is no waste.
First of all, the meat is removed from the tail and from the claws.
The tail-meat is cut into slices, i.e. medallions.
All meat is placed on a dish and put aside to be fried later.

The shells carry a lot of flavour. Dumping these in the garbage would be a real waste. They are broken up and are placed in the hot oven for approx. 7 minutes, depending on the number of shells you have.

Once they have reached a nice brown colour, remove them from the oven.
Roasting them in the oven has given them a great aroma which will give the lobster-sauce a stunning taste.

Dice the onions with a sharp knife.

Now melt some butter in a medium-sized pot and add the onions as well as the rosemary and slowly glaze them.

Cut the leek and the carrots.

Now add the leek, the onions and everything that was left from the lobster and slightly fry them.

Add some dry white wine and bring to the boil. Please don’t use the cheapest wine you can get. Using a good quality wine has quite some effect on the flavour. As Tagliatelle are an Italian dish, I decided to use an Italian wine here.
The wine should cover the ingredients completely, so you can be generous with this.

When it starts boiling, add approx. 2cl of dry Martini.

Then add approx. two tablespoons of Tomato puree.

Bring to the boil, then slowly let it simmer at a very low temperature for approx. two hours. It mustn’t boil anymore, just slighty simmer.

Now use a blender to turn this into a nice creamy paste. Don’t remove the shells! As they got quite brittle in the oven, they will crack up easily under the blender. This will release all the aroma left in the shells.

Now strain this sauce with a strainer. 

Pour the strained sauce into a clean pot and let simmer while you prepare the noodles.

To prepare the noodles, put the flour, the eggs, the olive oil and the squid ink into a bowl.

Now work them until you get a nice, black dough.

I use a machine for this. Keep it running for at least 30 minutes at low speed. I actually keep it running for approx. an hour to make sure the dough is really well worked through.
If it’s too dry, add a little bit of water. But really only a little bit. Half a teaspoon is the measure I normally take here. If you use more, it will be too wet and will get sticky, meaning that your noodles will stick together when you cook them, turning them into one big blob instead of nice al-dente-noodles.

The dough should be quite hard and mustn’t be sticky when you stop working it.
Then place the dough into a bowl and cut it into eight equally sized chunks.
This is for two persons, i.e. 200g of flour and 2 eggs. If you used more, you should also have more chunks.
This is because each chunk will form one batch of noodles. If the chunks are too big, the noodles will become too long and you can’t handle them in the noodle-machine.
Also, another important hint. Don’t cover them with flour to prevent them from sticking. When boiling the noodles, the flower will turn into a sticky, slimy mass. Rather, make sure that the dough is as dry as possible without falling apart, then the noodles won’t stick even without being covered in flour.

Now roll them in the noodle-maker, starting from 0 (thick) to 6 (thin).
Forst of all, flatten the chunks as much as possible, as otherwise they won’t go through the roller properly-
You roll them step by step. Start rolling at 0, continue with 1, 2, 3… until 6.

Finally, run them through the Tagliatelle-cutter.

Store the noodles while you continue with the sauce.

Now add some cream to the sauce and stir thoroughly.

Use a milk-frother to get the sauce nice and frothy.

Put the meat into a frying pan and fry until it’s got a nicely fried surface.
(sorry, I don’t have a photo here).

Now bring the water to the boil. Add the salt and wait a minute or two for the salt do dissolve.
Add the noodles to the boiling water.
Leave them in the water for exactly 50 seconds. Use a stopwatch. This is crucial if you want your noodles to be al dente. If you leave them in the water a few seconds longer, they become soft and slimy.
If you take them out too early, they will be very hard and difficult to chew.

Pour the water through a sieve.

To serve, first put the sauce onto a deep noodle-plate.
Then add the noodles and finally place the fried lobster-meat on top of them.


Ultrasonic Cleaner: Great for Emulsions

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Some time ago I read an interesting news-article about the growing number of companies using ultrasound in industrial food-production.
It seems as though power ultrasound (>5W/cm2) can change the cell-structure of organic matter, releasing very intensive flavours and improving stability of foods.
So I thought “Well, why don’t I try this?”.
I checked eBay and found a cheap ultrasonic cleaner with a heating-function (max. 80 Degrees Celsius).
This one actually uses a GN 1/4-container, as if it were made for use in the kitchen.
Obviously, it’s far weaker than those powerful industrial units but I thought it would be worth a try.
A professional Ultrasonic Homogeniser is really expensive (in the upper four digits), so I didn’t expect too much from my little Ultrasonic Cleaner.
But hey, I was pleasantly surprised.
After some experimenting I found it totally useless for any flavour improvements but I didn’t really expect this. It just isn’t powerful enough.
It’s great for creating emulsions though. Stuff that normally takes a lot of effort to mix properly, e.g. Mayonnaise, which is an “Oil-in-Water” emulsion.
Under normal circumstances, mixing a ‘real’ Mayonnaise using only egg, olive oil and lemon juice plus a little salt and pepper will take ages until it’s properly and evenly mixed.
Doing this in the Ultrasonic Cleaner is much faster and achieves a very even result without any oil swimming on top, etc.
Obviously, you still need to know what you’re doing and you can’t just throw in all the stuff at the same time but if you take the same approach as though you were preparing a Mayonnaise the normal way, you’ll be done much quicker.
And if you aren’t happy with the ultrasonic cleaner for cooking, you can still use it for cleaning your glasses or jewelry . 🙂

If you want more information on how the professionals do it, this link might be interesting:
HIELSCHER  Ultrasonic Homogeniser for Culinary Application