This dish was inspired by a Spanish rice, lobster and truffle dish I tasted recently. Since truffles are very hard to come by, I substituted them for a drop of truffle oil. The more expensive truffle oil is, the better it tastes, so don’t use an imitation – it is better to omit the oil entirely. If you do come across Australian truffles, shave them over top. I found excellent vacuum-packed frozen lobster from a Nova Scotia brand called Naked Lobster, which is carried at several supermarkets and some fish shops. It worked perfectly for this recipe but you could also use shrimp if you prefer them to lobster. Try to find Spanish rice, which is a medium-grain rice, otherwise Arborio will work (though the texture will be slightly different). Salmorreta is a slightly spicy Spanish sauce typically served on the side of rice and chicken dishes. While the Spanish would use Nora peppers, I substituted them for long red ones that are readily available.
- 1/2 tsp saffron threads
- 1/3 cup boiling water
- 2 medium tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 Vidalia onion, peeled, cut into wedges
- 1/2 long red chili
- 5 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp sherry vinegar
- 1 tbsp chopped parsley
- 1 tbsp chopped cilantro
- Salt to taste
Rice and Lobster:
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 cup diced shallots
- 4 oz (225 g) shimeji mushrooms
- 4 1/2 cups fish or chicken stock
- 1 cup Albufera rice or a medium-grain Spanish rice
- Freshly ground pepper
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 tsp chopped garlic
- 1/2 lb (250 g) lobster out of the shell
- 1 tsp truffle oil
- 2 tbsp chopped chives
Steep saffron in boiling water for 20 minutes. Strain, discarding saffron. Reserve water.
Preheat the broiler. To make the salmorreta sauce, place tomatoes (cut-side up), onion and chili on a baking sheet. Brush vegetables with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Place under broiler and broil until the tomatoes and onions are brown on the edges and the chili skin is blistered (3 to 5 minutes).
Skin and seed the tomato and the chili and add to a food processor with the vinegar, parsley and cilantro. Turn the processor on and add remaining olive oil slowly through feeder tube until it’s incorporated. Season well with salt. Reserve.
Heat olive oil in skillet on medium heat. Add shallots and mushrooms and sauté until softened (about 3 minutes). Add 3 1/2 cups stock and the reserved saffron water and bring to boil. Scatter in rice, season with salt and bring to a simmer. Cook, adding more stock as needed, until rice is cooked through but still with a firmness in the centre (about 12 to 15 minutes).
Heat butter in small saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add lobster and sauté until pink and cooked through (about 3 minutes). Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Remove lobster to a plate and stir garlic butter into rice.
Spoon rice into 4 dishes. Top with lobster and drizzle with truffle oil. Serve with a drizzle of salmorreta sauce and garnish with chives.