Pine Bough Sautéed Langoustines and Crispy Shallots with Nori Salt and Shallot Mayonnaise

October 3rd, 2011 § 0 comments

Serves 12


For the Crispy Shallots

23 cup canola oil
10 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced into rings
2 sprigs finely chopped dill
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

For the Shallot Mayonnaise

6 large eggs
2 tablespoons canola oil, plus ½ cup
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1 small leek, white portion only, finely chopped
4 shallots, finely chopped
2 tablespoons white vinegar
Salt to taste

For the Nori Salt

4 sheets nori seaweed, torn into pieces
2 tablespoons salt

For the Langoustines

Fresh pine boughs, rinsed thoroughly under cold running water
24 large shell-on langoustines
½ cup unsalted butter
Salt to taste


For the Crispy Shallots

In a heavy-bottomed pan, heat the oil until nearly smoking. Add the shallots and fry until golden brown and crispy. Carefully remove the shallots with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Season with salt and pepper, toss with dill, and set aside. Shallots can be made several days ahead of time and will keep in a covered container in the refrigerator.

For the Shallot Mayonnaise

Prepare an ice bath. Bring a small pot of water to a boil and add the whole eggs, timing their cooking for exactly 4½ minutes. Quickly remove and immediately plunge into the ice bath. Once the eggs are chilled, gently peel them under running water (try not to puncture the egg white since the yolk is still soft and runny.) In a sauté pan, heat on tablespoon oil and sauté the onion, leek and shallots over high heat until the onion is translucent, about 3 minutes. Cool to room temperature then combine with the eggs in a blender. Blend on high until smooth, about a minute, then begin adding the oil in a slow, steady stream until fully incorporated, about 3 minutes. The resulting mayonnaise will be thicker than most store bought varieties. Add the vinegar and salt and blend until incorporated, adjusting as necessary. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Extra mayonnaise will keep for two days.

For the Nori Salt

In a spice blender combine the nori and salt and pulse until pulverized to a fine powder. Will keep in a covered container at room temperature for several weeks.

For the Langoustines

Using a sharp knife, score a slit on the back of each langoustine shell from head to tail being careful not to puncture the flesh below. Season the langoustines with salt. Using butcher’s twine, tie a langoustine (legs facing out) tightly to the pine bough then trim any excess twine. Repeat process with remaining langoustines. In a cast iron skillet, melt the butter until it begins to froth then sauté the bundles until the langoustines are cooked through and the pine is aromatic, about 90 seconds per side. Use tongs during this process and work carefully since any excess pine sap has a tendency to sputter. Immediately serve the langoustines on their bough, offering guests scissors to cut the twine and remove the shell.

To serve

Arrange the bundles into individual cups. Serve with crispy shallots, onion mayonnaise, and nori salt for dipping. To add an extra flourish just before serving, burn the langoustine tails just before serving so that they arrive flaming when they arrive to the table.

Note: To source the pine boughs for this recipe you will most likely need to do some foraging of your own, even if it is just from your neighbor’s yard (with permission, of course). Once harvested, trim the boughs into twelve 6-inch pieces. Each cut piece should have both a sturdy central stem as well as fragrant, fresh, needles. Thoroughly rinse the cut pine boughs under hot running water for several minutes to remove any dirt, bugs, or excess sap. This step will help prevent the sap from sputtering during the cooking process.

Note: Langoustines are small, sweet tasting, lobsters about 10-inches long native to North Atlantic waters. Also known as Dublin Bay prawns or Norway lobster (and sometimes referred to generically as scampi), they look like an orange-colored jumbo shrimp sporting crab claws. They are also hard to source. For something of similar size and taste, jumbo prawns or jumbo shrimp can both be substituted.

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