There's always a danger with lobster that you drown its delicate flavour with sauces and accompaniments. This frequently leads to timid options, pairing the lobster with Hollandaise sauce or with a little citrus sweetened with cream. When I was offered a pair of lobsters to take home, I was determined that I would try something more adventurous. I'd been thinking about making a mango-chilli mousse for quite a while and this was the perfect time. It worked well - despite the potency of the mousse, the flavour of the lobster was maintained. And there was an unexpected bonus because I made enough mousse to allow me to reconstitute the leftovers later... but that's another story.
Ingredients (4 portions)
For the meat and veg:
2 medium sized lobsters
20 spears of baby asparagus
lemon-infused olive oil
For the mousse:*
1/4 cup lime juice (2 large or 4 small limes)
2 lbs ripe mango (or tinned pure mango pulp)
1 red chilli, very finely chopped**
1/4 cup sugar***
1 egg white
4 leaves unflavoured gelatin
1/4 cup double cream
pinch of salt
* Note that the quantities listed here make perhaps 20 portions of mousse and are ideal if you want to put some away to use later, as I did. My photographs show these quantities. It would be very difficult to make mousse in the quantity required just for this recipe, but you can certainly scale down.
** With the chilli you need to experiment and use a type and quantity suitable for your personal taste. I used one small Scotch Bonnet, which gives a unique flavour as well as a strong pungency. Most important is to chop it very finely, so you don't end up with hot spots in the mousse!
*** Add less if your mango pulp is sweetened, a little more if using fresh fruit.
|Halve the limes and squeeze into a cup.|
|Now add the gelatin leaves to 1/4 cup of hot water in a bowl and allow the gelatin to dissolve.|
|Put the mango pulp into a bowl, stir in the sugar, the gelatin and the finely chopped chilli.|
|Beat the cream to soft peaks.|
|And beat the egg white to firm peaks.|
|Now fold the cream into the beaten egg white.|
|And then gently fold the cream and egg into the mango, sugar and chilli mixture.|
|You need patience here - keep folding gently until thoroughly blended. Avoid the temptation to use a blender at this stage, as this will knock out the air you've just add to the cream and albumen.|
|Now chill in a fridge for two hours or more, or put in the freezer for 30 minutes or so (don't allow it to freeze!)|
|As with crustaceans such as prawns, the lobster turns bright pink almost instantly in boiling water. Langoustines are an exception to this, as they are naturally pink.|
|Rest the cooked lobsters and allow to fully cool.|
|In the meantime, cook the asparagus spears. Break off the woody end sections and drop into boiling water or place in a steamer for a minute or so. When cooked to your desired degree, remove and plunge into ice water to refresh.|
|In the photo below I show sliced lobster tail sitting on a bed of mousse.|
Other lobster meat can be better presented lightly folded into the mousse.
Extracting the flesh is no easy task. In this photo I use the back of a cleaver to crack the shell.
|At the end of the day there's no substitute for washing your hands and getting stuck in!|