Spanish Lobster Stew
Origin: Balearic Islands, Spain
This tasty lobster stew is originally from the Balearic Islands off the East coast of the Spanish peninsular. The inhabitants of the different islands all believe that they make the best caldereta depending on the type of lobster. In this recipe we have left the choice up to you.
In Minorca, the locals claim that the best caldereta is made with their own blue spiny lobsters whereas the Majorcans think that the light red lobsters off the coast of Majorca are better. In the absence of either of these lobsters, you can always just use the more common American lobster which also produces a tasty Spanish lobster stew.
It is highly unlikely that you are an expert on European and Spanish lobsters so here is a quick insight. Basically, there are two main types of lobster: the American and the European lobster. The American lobster is called the 'bogavante' in Spanish and can be found in the Bay of Biscay. The 'langosta' however is the European lobster which is found in the Mediterranean Sea and is normally pretty spiny. If in doubt, you could always ask your local fishmonger!
Naturally, using Spanish lobster will make your dish more authentic but they are hard to find if you don't visit Spain often. However, there is an advantage of using the American lobster. The claws of the American lobster are much thicker and contain more meat so you should save those and cook them along with the tail meat. Just make sure you leave a bowl in the middle for the left over shells!
Caldereta de Langosta | Lobster Stew
- 2 live lobsters
- ⅓ cup and 2 tbsps extra of Olive oil
- 2 lbs tomatoes, cored and cut into eighths
- 8 oz. tomato paste (from can)
- 2 yellow onions, chopped
- 1 small green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic, whole, peeled
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- 4 thin slices of bread (optional)
- 4 tsps Alioli (optional)
- Serves 4
- Place the live lobster in a pan of iced water for 1 hour.
- In a frying pan, heat the third of a cup of Olive oil over a high heat. To the pan, add the tomatoes, onions, tomato paste and the green pepper, ensuring to stir frequently, and fry for 10 minutes or until the vegetables are soft.
- Turn the heat down to medium and season the vegetables with the sugar and salt and cook for a further 20 minutes or until the mixture has thickened.
- Put the mixture through a food mill and then pour into a large saucepan. Heat the mixture over the lowest heat and make sure that the sauce does not burn.
- While the vegetables are cooking, remove the lobsters from the iced water and put them stomach down on a chopping board. Use a sharp knife to separate the head from the tail and remove the legs. Remove the insides and discard but keep the liver (green mass in the head) and the roe (red mass). Put these in the fridge. Crack the legs open with a small hammer to release more flavour.
- In a smaller saucepan, combine the lobster heads and legs with water and boil over a high heat. Then simmer for half an hour to create a stock. Strain and leave to one side.
- Cut each lobster tail into 4 pieces and add them to the tomato sauce. Mix the mixture well with a wooden spoon. Add the stock and season. Increase the heat to medium and boil. Cover the pan and cook for 20 minutes.
- Put the garlic, parsley, the last of the olive oil and the lobster liver and roe into a mortar and grind into a paste with a pestle. Add the paste to the sauce and stir well. Cook for a further 5 minutes.
- To serve, spread a slice of bread with alioli and place the bread into the bottom of a soup dish. Ladle the lobster pieces and soup onto the top.