...because you thought Sweden was Switzerland!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Food journal number 56: Crayfish season with baked Norway lobster

At last, something that's not a pie or a cake!

It's crayfish-fishing season again in Sweden, which means it's time again for eating crayfish. At the grocery though, I thought I'd try something different, read: something on sale. Norway lobster, usually very expensive, was on sale frozen for 80 kronor a kilo. I've never eaten this delicacy before so with a quick ring to Marcus to make sure he knew what to do with them, I went away from the grocery with a box of 14.

Norway lobster is called "sea crayfish" in Swedish, but is actually a close relative of the lobster. It is smaller, longer and resembles big shrimp but has small claws. It's fished in the Atlantic from northern Norway to southern Portugal.

The tail section, which is also called scampi, are the bulk of the meat because the claws, although containing the tastiest meat, is really minuscule. The tail's taste is however, tasty and surprisingly lobster-like. The fat (or whatever orange stuff there is) at the head seems to me to taste a bit like mussels.

Even when raw, Norway lobster is bright orange (the first picture in the collage is actually raw defrosted Norway lobster)! The cooking instructions said that they should just be cooked in boiling water for about 3 minutes. Since these were frozen though (and probably don't taste as nice as fresh ones), Marcus decided to pimp it up a bit with other ingredients and make baked Norway lobster. This made perfect sense and reminded me of baked mussels, a really delicious light meal that we used to have in the Philippines and sold as an accompaniment to beer. We wanted to have wine with this though, and the helpful staff at Systembolaget (the government alcohol monopoly store), suggested a fruity and sweet Riesling to match the saltiness of the baked lobsters.

By the way, an interesting detail about Systembolaget is that when you ask them for advice on wine, the first thing they ask is what price range you have in mind. The bottle we bought cost 80, as much as the kilo of Norway lobster. Anything more expensive than our on-sale smaller-than-usual frozen lobsters would have been outrageous. I haven't seen regular-sized Norway lobsters in my life, but Marcus says that these ones are indeed small in comparison – another reason why pimping it up with other ingredients was a good choice. This is a light dinner for four and a big dinner for two.

Baked Norway lobster (gratinerade havskräftor)

1. Defrost overnight if frozen

2. Four hours before baking, cut the Norway lobster in half lengthwise with a knife, exposing the tail meat. With tweezers or tongs, take out the red globular stuff at the head (but not the black or orange stuff) and the "shit string", as it's called in Swedish (very visual, isn't it?)

3. Marinade the halves with 3T olive oil, 3T lemon juice, 1t paprika powder, 1t salt, a dash of white pepper, Tabasco, some Worcestershire sauce, and 1 deciliter white wine (even cooking wine will do). Brush each piece individually before pouring the marinade on everything. Refrigerate.

4. While the seafood is marinading, prepare the crust. Grate 3 to 4 pieces of plain white bread (better than using instant bread crumbs). Combine with grated Parmesan of the same volume (around 2 deciliters), 1 deciliter finely hacked dill, and 2 pressed garlic cloves. Combine and put in the refrigerator in the meantime until the marinade time is done.

5. When the marinade time is over, preheat the oven to 250 C. Arrange the halves meat side-up on a big baking pan. Sprinkle evenly with the bread crumb mixture and drizzle about 3T of olive oil carefully and evenly across the whole surface. Place the plan on the top half of the hot oven, bake for 8 minutes. Serve with garlic bread, and if you want, some salad. Have some dark chocolate for dessert. :-)


Anonymous Lobster Queen said...

Always good to try something new! I would think that my lobster tail recipes would also work with Norway lobster, if you ever wish to try them again.

1:54 PM

Blogger meowok said...


2:14 PM

Blogger Leplume said...

Holy moly, Lilly, your journal always makes me hungry when you're writing about food! I can hear my stomach growling!!

2:52 PM

Anonymous Lara said...

oh this looks too yummy, i just realllllly love seafood, joy. but jaakko hates them, so no go. ill just binge on them in december when we go home. have you found cheaper tickets yet?

5:21 PM


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