Chilled Corn, Curry & Spiny Lobster Soup
Thursday, 17 January 2013
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Recipe from My Key West Kitchen by Norman Van Aken, Justin Van Aken (Kyle Books, 2012) The old timers in the Keys still call spiny lobster “crawfish.” Too often when you have a guest eat the kind of lobster native to our waters they express a bit of chagrin in that it is not as buttery-tasting as the claw-bearing variety that Maine is so well known for. I mostly think of the spiny creatures as big shrimp and almost nobody minds that notion! This soup is also beautiful garnished with thinly sliced apple and more cooked corn kernels.
When my dad wrote the “Fusion” paper, he was originally referring to a marriage between “haute” and “home”; the cuisine of monarchs with the food “that mama used to make.” If you look closely, you can see that this dish is the love child of an exotic curried lobster with all the homey comfort of a side of creamed corn.
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 leeks, white part only, diced
- 2 tablespoons curry powder
- 4 cups fresh corn kernels, cut off the cobs (about 4 ears)
- 1 1/2 cups apple juice
- 3 cups Chicken Stock
- Bouquet garni of 1/4 teaspoon coriander seeds, 5 black peppercorns and 6 stems cilantro with leaves, tied in cheesecloth
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
- 2 squirts of Tabasco sauce (optional)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 to 1 1/2 cups of half and half
- Sour cream, for garnish
Melt the butter in a medium pot over medium heat. Add the leeks, cover, and sweat until soft but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add the curry and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the apple juice and reduce by three-quarters. Add the corn, chicken stock and bouquet garni. Simmer uncovered for 20 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of the heavy cream. Stir and remove the pot from the heat. Add the coconut milk and set aside for 30 minutes for flavors to steep.
- 2 pounds spiny lobster meat (or shrimp), shelled and cut into bite-sized pieces
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons pure olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Remove and discard the bouquet garni. In batches, purée the soup in a blender, or alternatively use a stick blender. Stir in the remaining 1 cup heavy cream and the Tabasco, is using. Strain through a largeholed sieve into a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper and chill thoroughly in the refrigerator. (The soup may be very thick at this point.) Stir in the half-and-half to a desired consistency and set aside. Meanwhile, make the spiny lobster: Heat a nonstick sauté pan and heat the oil. Add the lobster meat and cook over low heat until cooked through. Transfer to a plate and set aside to cool. Add the cooled lobster to the soup and taste to adjust the seasoning. Garnish with sour cream to taste, and serve.
Cooking Note: Spiny lobster is tough if not cooked somewhat slowly and completely through. If you want a lighter hue to the lobster, simply steam the tails and then cut them up and add to the soup. The cooking juices from the lobster can be saved to drizzle over grilled fish or spoon into a shrimp stir-fry with rice.
Ingredient Notes: Though corn seems to be available year round these days, I like to make this soup during the absolute height of sweet corn season. Look at buying spices like you would buying fish or meat—and the likelihood is that your spices will be with you for weeks or months to come, so get the best!
Last Updated ( Sunday, 20 January 2013 )