|Poached Langoustine with Fresh Coconut Puree, and Thai Basil & Almond Pesto|
I love having Fridays off, because that means - get up and get to Union Square to buy random odds and ends, then figure out what to do with them. Of course, after having a body high from my aforementioned smoothie (true), I wanted to get down there quick AND was a bit concerned about the looming hurricane. With shopping bag, sunglasses, umbrella, and metrocard in hand, I hopped on the 6th downtown - and of course what happened when I got to the 23rd street station? Well, how can I pass up a trip to EATALY FOR THE SECOND TIME IN TWO DAYS! I couldn't fight the urge, so it just happened - seriously, it's like I was possessed by the devil.
ON WE GO! It is still as good as before, and I seriously had to restrain myself from a) buying everything b) stalking Mario (which I'm sure he thinks is the case because I ran into him at least 5 times this morning) and c) drinking entirely too much espresso. They had JAMAICA BLUE MOUNTAIN COFFEE!
It's probably hard to read but that sign states "THE BEST ESPRESSO EVER". How can you do this to people!? It's true though - this is one of the most expensive and sought after coffees in the world - when I went to a coffee roasting company, it was made quite obvious, especially when you see other coffee beans toted in via massive burlap sacks, and these beans come in cute little mini barrels, and are still a billion times more expensive not even adjusting for volume. Granted there is always the Kopi Luwak Coffee, but I don't know if I'm yet up to eating beans that have been digested and "released" if you will by a strange cat/lemur/dog type of animal.
Bypassing the fishmonger I noticed they had fresh, wild langoustine. Please note that EVERY fishmonger I go to, I ask if they ever get a) langoustine b) Santa Barbara Spotted Prawns or c) South African "Crayfish". The answer I always get is either "??????" or "Nope". Serious let down - these are hands down some of the most delicious crustaceans around. 100 times better than lobsters. They are LIKE BUTTA - like TWO STICKS of butta. (PLEASE someone remember Mike Meyers on Coffee Talk!). But honestly they are - they're all very perishable, have a short season, and probably just get gobbled up by the locals instead of getting shipped out.
|Santa Barbara Spot Prawns - best when alive and kicking - UNLESS they attack you, which I have experienced. And I'm traumatized. If they aren't alive when you purchase them, there's an enzyme that runs through the body, ruining the flesh.|
|MONSIEUR LANGOUSTINE! Welcome to ma maison! Would you like to hop in the hot tub??|
Anyways - it looked like my lunch was bound to be delicious. I perused the rest of the store as well as Union Square to chat with my homies, but couldn't wait to get home to cook for myself!
What to do....what to do. I couldn't get the taste or smell of that fresh coconut out of my head (probably also because it is STILL in my kitchen) so I knew I had to do SOMETHING with the remaining flesh. Why not make a puree with some of the coconut milk!? Pure as snow indeed. At a loss and hungry, I grabbed my ever so helpful Flavor Bible, and decided on making a Thai basil and almond pesto. The thai basil is a bit more spicy and edgier than the Italian version most of us are used to - I have both growing in my apartment but the thai seemed more appropriate with the coconut. Into the pestle!
|Sorry buddy, that's what happens chez Katherine|
|Thank you Zabar's for giving me sudden urges to purchase random objects, you have been helpful.|
|Thai Basil - why not throw a few buds and flowers - I was picking them off anyway, might as well not let em go to waste!|
|The BEST olive oil. 2007. Antico Podere del Gualdo. Sinolea process (pricking each olive with little knives and letting the oil drip out). Fruity, herbaceous, vibrant, amazing.|
|Away we go! Get it? Pesto? Pestle? |
While I was grinding away at the pesto (thai basil, a clove of garlic, a tablespoon of olive oil and a pinch of sea salt), I was bringing a pot of water to boil with some salt, bay leaves and crushed cardamom pods to add a hint of flavor to the langoustine - it honestly needs nothing though, and I cooked it so quickly it didn't make that much of a difference.
I poached the tail, claws, and body separately, just until the flesh became opaque. Note: If you ever get langoustines or anything similar and are taking it out of the shell raw and want to preserve the almost candy-stripe coloring on the flesh, be sure to be very careful when take the tail-casing (casing? shell? armadillo?) off - I was very gentle with it so I could achieve the red and white striping for presentation. For myself. True story.
|Et voila! Finished product.|
I must say. This was delicious. The langoustine itself was amazing, buttery, rich, and creamy. I ate about half of it alone, and half with the pesto/coconut combination. Altogether, it was delicious, and something I definitely need to write down! The coconut with the pesto by itself was a delicious combination - again, it probably wouldn't be good using anything other than fresh coconut, but what the heck. Not bad for a Friday afternoon!