True Highlands Blog
This time of year, even though the cutting winds may still rage in the Highlands, there are tasty greens and flowers to be foraged. I like to pair the first picked greens of the year (often from the greenhouse) with edible blossoms and wonderful creamy lobster meat.
Lobster is in season the whole year round, but makes an extra special treat in the spring when most of us have been stoking-up on piles of mine & tatties and other stick-to-your-ribs food. I don my sou-wester and oilskins to head out to our croft fields and garden. With my wellies squelching in the muddy glore that is spring on Mull, I go forth to gather. Sorry to ruin your image of me frolicking through sunny meadows with a painted wooden trug, in flowing diaphanous skirts of floral design.
In this recipe I use primroses, dead nettle blooms and pansies but you can use whatever edible flowers and shoots are available in your garden, or area.
Flower cookery, which can be traced back to Roman times, features prominently at Ninth Wave. I use foraged spring flowers raw in salads and on sashimi, cooked in sauces, powdered, and crystallised. Flowers can be unique seasoning tools. Some flowers are very peppery, such as nasturtiums and some are light, refreshing palate cleansers such as borage with its subtle cucumber flavour. Other edible blossoms include mallow, angelica, dandelion, burnet, hyssop, snapdragons, yarrow, clover, chickweed, lavender, rosa rugosa, thyme, meadowsweet, mugwort and marigold.
• 2 cooked & cooled lobsters, about 1kg
• 240 g garden greens (baby spinach, mizuna, raddichio, rocket, namenia, little gem or other) rinsed & drained
• 170 g (3 oz) mange-tout, julienned
• 40g mixed garden herbs (chives, tarragon, parsley, chervil, sorrel), rinsed & drained
• 2 mandarin oranges (1 segmented and peeled, 1 juiced)
• Edible flowers (primroses, violets, dandelion, dead nettle, begonias, nasturciums, roses, marigolds, borage)
• Sea salt and fresh ground pink pepper
• 60g mayonnaise
• 60g crème fraiche
• 1 tsp fresh lime juice
• 1 Tbsp Cointreau
• ½ tsp pureed parsley
• Pinch sea salt
• Pinch pink peppercorns crushed
1. Boil a large pot of salted water for the lobster.
2. Place the humanely killed lobsters in the large pot of boiling water and bring back to
the boil. The lobsters will take 8 minutes to cook.
3. Remove the lobsters with tongs when the full 8 minutes have passed and place
on a cutting board. Cool for 10 mins.
4. Place each lobster, one at a time, belly-side up, on the cutting board. Holding the tail in place with one hand, take the point of a large, sharp knife and place it at right angles to the head so that the blade will slice down the length of the lobster. Plunge it into the centre of the lobster where the tail meets the body. Be careful to hold your fingers out of the knife’s path. Press down firmly. Cut in half lengthwise.
5. Rotate the lobster and repeat the procedure to cut the head in half.
6. Separate the halves. Discard the gills and the dark intestinal thread that runs along the back of the tail. Remove the tail meat. Remove the empty tail shells from the head. Crack claws with a heavy spoon, the back of a heavy knife or pestle.
7. If you would like round medallions of lobster tail as in the picture, twist tail from head to remove. Turn to underside and using a pair of stout scissors cut lengthways down both edges of the clear shell. You can then peel the panel down and remove the tail in one piece. Remove intestine and then slice in rounds for a lovely presentation. (The meat from the legs can also be removed by segmenting and squeezing, but this takes a lot of time and effort).
8. To make the dressing mix all ingredients in a bowl and whisk until smooth.
9. Gently mix herbs, mange tout, leaves and orange segments. Divide into 4 and place decoratively onto chilled plates. Top with lobster meat, drizzle with dressing and garnish with blossom and claws.
Recipe blog kindly provided by Chef and Author, Carla Lamont of Ninth Wave Restaurant.
If you wish to see more of Carla’s recipes, she has released a cookbook which is available from Amazon.