Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Somewhere in my head, out of focus, is the platonic ideal of an Italian-inflected combination of lobster and tomato. Not lobster succotash, in other words, or a salad with tomatoes and cold lobster - something that says "yeah, Italian ... ish?"

It's probably a bit spicy and a bit acidic. It might turn out to be pizza. It might be a grinder. I fiddle.

Surf and turf pasta.

Meatballs, spaghetti, lobster

Tomato sauce: about eight parts crushed tomatoes, eight parts lobster stock, and one part pickled hot peppers, whizzed with the immersion blender and reduced until the consistency of tomato sauce. Salt shouldn't be necessary. Marjoram for seasoning.

Meatballs: large-ish. Ground beef, thick yogurt (buttermilk's fine), an egg, bread crumbs, lots of fennel, more crushed pickled peppers. Cook in the finished sauce.

The thing about lobster stock - any shellfish stock - in tomato sauce is, it's awesome. It adds a brininess that, with the strength of the tomato flavor, doesn't read as fishiness. And I mean that differently than I mean it about anchovies. Lobster stock would be an interesting base for puttanesca.

This combination, the tomato and lobster stock together - that's what's got me going after this platonic ideal, the way those flavors work together. The spice works well with it, and the fennel works well with the spice.

The sauce is pretty acidic compared to most Italian tomato sauces, because of the pickled peppers. It's not ketchup or anything, but you will reach for the Tums. The yogurt in the meatballs is to add a bit of tang so they play with that sauce well.

Serve with pasta and chunks of cooked lobster. Cheese? Maybe, I dunno; I'm out of Pecorino and Romano, didn't want to use the gouda (too sweet) or the aged provolone.

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