Langoustines, the ones that look like mini lobsters, have the most delicious sweet and delicate flesh, perfect for a summer BBQ or if the weather is against you, on a grill pan inside. Surprisingly, over 80% of British langoustines are exported, but this recipe will show you how easy they are to cook and hopefully get them on your weeknight menu! If you speak with your local fishmonger they will be able to sort you out with langoustines, or check out this link: http://www.buylangoustine.co.uk/index.html
Here I serve it very simply with the Italian salsa agresto, which is not a million miles away from pesto, made with walnuts, almonds, parsley and basil. It is also wonderful with pasta and drizzled over grilled vegetables.
Preheat oven to 180C. For the salsa agresto, place the walnuts and almonds on separate trays in the oven for about 5 minutes, until a shade darker and aromatic. Leave to cool.
Place the 65g of walnuts into a food processor with the almonds, garlic and herbs and blitz until you almost have a smooth paste, scraping down the sides every now and then. While blitzing, slowly pour in 100ml of olive oil and the lemon juice and zest. Season with ¼ tsp salt and some pepper. Taste and adjust if necessary. Chop the remaining walnuts into small chunks.
Lay the langoustines on their back and cut in half lengthways down the centre. Lightly oil the langoustines and season with a little salt and pepper. Heat a pan over a medium-high heat and place the langoustines flesh side down on the pan. Cook for 2 minutes then flip over and cook for about 30 seconds. Tangle 6 halves onto each plate, drizzle over the agresto and scatter some of the chopped walnuts on top. Serve immediately.
Yield: 4 Servings
65g fresh walnuts, plus a few extra to serve
1 small clove garlic
15g parsley, leaves only
10g basil, leaves only
Extra virgin olive oil
Zest of ½ an unwaxed lemon and 2 tsp lemon juice
Sea salt and pepper