20140821-230024-82824396.jpgPhoto by Astrid Barros
When Angela called me to say that she would be getting a ride home with our friends, A & B, the first thing I asked of course, would be if they would stay for dinner. She queried and yah, a free dinner was fine with them.

This surprise visit, unexpected, filled me with great joy because A) Astrid would be dropping by unexpectedly and B) Bruno, too and it meant I could cook for a couple of extra people. Double score. I just love impromptu dinner meetings like this, having to scramble a bit and pull a dinner together.

On the menu was Not Spicy Lobster Pasta and Parsley, Red Onion, and Pomegranate Salad, both pulled from the August issue of Bon Appetit. Still, with two more mouths to feed, it meant another quick bike ride to the Berkeley Bowl West where I bought some more Thai Slipper Tail Lobster, a lobster relative which still had some measure of ‘lobsteriness’ as well as the distinct advantage of not being $30/lb but a little less than half that. The Thai lobster pieces were all much smaller but served in this case. I also grabbed a bottle of cheap Viu Manent Sauvignon Blanc for the meal. OK, then! Time to cook!

The parsley salad needed the red onions to bask a bit in a mix of sugar, salt, and sumac and the wine needed to chill, while the lobster needed to be quickly defrosted and shelled. A new ingredient in my larder now is pomegranate molasses which cost $4.59 or so…and I used, like, a teaspoon. #%$&! Hopefully it will come in handy for other middle eastern dishes.

All in all, preparation went smoothly. I used fresh pasta which I cut to size, used a clever trick to slice in half all the cherry tomatoes, and things progressed quickly.

I had the highest moment of pleasure when preparing the sauce for the pasta; at one point I had sautéed the shallots in a bit of butter and oil and had just added the tomatoes; in a few short minutes it looked like this.


A few minutes later I added the lobster-knockoff meat and it really started coming together.


The Secret to a Silky Pasta Sauce

Now, remember this if you remember nothing else about this blog amidst zillions: add a half cup to cup of your pasta cooking water to your sauce. Why? The starches slacked off from the pasta you just cooked add a nice thickness to your sauce…so use your pasta water!

So the pasta sauce and lobster came out fabulously–wifey found it a bit underseasoned until I remembered to add some lemon zest and juice to the dish which punched it up a tad. I added a tad of fleur de sel as well and it was just right.

20140821-230508-83108886.jpgPhoto by Astrid Barros

Paired with this was a parsley, red onion, and pomegranate salad which was enjoyed by our guests, though less so by wifey.


For dessert I roasted a bunch of split figs with thyme and brushed with olive oil and mixed up some creme fraiche and a bit of sugar.


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And not to outdo myself, I got some Spanish figbread I had on hand and added a bit of French goat cheese (cabricharme) which I nuked in the microwave as a final treat.

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I don’t think anyone left hungry. Ironic that right after we watched food porn videos for an hour.