April, the beginning of spring. You’d be forgiven for thinking that with the change of seasons, we are now into our salad days, so to speak. Not so – luckily for us, this is a sweet spot for fresh ingredients. April still carries over some of my favourite ingredients from the end of winter – shellfish, dark leaves such as kale and spinach, and brassicas: broccoli and cauliflower. Additionally, the beginning of spring brings in lamb, spring onions, and watercress. Unfortunately for us students, these glorious ingredients also coincide with deadlines. Here’s a dinner idea which is as impressive as it is easy.
These are so simple to make and look really impressive. They are quite similar to lobster, but as they are smaller, they require only a couple of minutes to cook.
What you will need:
A couple of fresh langoustines
A couple tablespoons of salt
A pot of boiling water
- In a pot of boiling water, put in a couple of tablespoons of salt and stir to dissolve. Place the langoustines in the water and boil for 2 to 3 mins, depending on the size.
- Take them out and cut open to reveal the flesh. This bit can be a tad tricky, but as they are smaller than lobsters, their shells are not as tough to crack. However, their size means that some of the smaller limbs, such as the legs, can be tough to get to, with little meat yield.
Here’s a good method for doing this:
* Disclaimer – this may not be the official method, but this is the fastest and easiest way I have found. *
- Pull the tail apart from the head, as that is where most of the flesh is.
- Start pulling the hard shell of the tail away. The bottom of the tail is more tender and can be pulled apart with just your fingers. However, if this proves particularly tricky, you can just use a pair of kitchen scissors to make a small incision.
- Next highest yield of meat comes from the claws. The best way to extract this is to break the claws at the joints and then use a skewer to poke the meat out.
- Voila! Serve with some lemon wedges, although I think they are equally as delicious without.
N.B. In my opinion, Tailend has the best stock in the town, and it is usually just as cheap as any of the supermarkets.
Watercress is one of those wonderful salad leaves which has enough flavour to stand alone with just a good dressing. It goes perfectly with the langoustines.
One of my favourites is a Dijon dressing:
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
5 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
1 garlic clove, grated
Pinch of salt
- Just whisk them together, adjust to taste, and pour over the watercress.
And just like that you have a delicious dinner in less than 20 minutes!