Astakos plaki - lobster in tomato sauce with saffron rice

Yield: 4 servings

Measure Ingredient
2 \N Lobsters (about 2 lbs each) (live, or recently dead)
25 \N Saffron strands; soaked in
¼ cup Hot water
¼ pounds Finely chopped onion
1 medium Leek; washed, finely chopped
8 tablespoons Fruity olive oil
3 \N Garlic cloves; minced
1 pounds Tomatoes; skinned, seeded, and finely chopped
4 \N Sun-dried tomatoes (in oil) pounded to a paste
½ cup White wine
¼ cup Orange juice
1 \N Bay leaf
\N \N Salt & freshly ground Pepper
½ cup Finely chopped Fennel
½ cup Minced flat-leaf Parsley
1 tablespoon Finely chopped fresh Mint
\N \N Saffron Rice

If you have live lobsters, plunge them into a pan of boiling water for 1 minute, then into cold water.

To prepare the lobsters, break off the claws and crack them open with a hammer. Cut off the tip of the tail (with the fins), then sever the tail where it joins the head with a heavy knife. Cut the tail into rings, slicing through the shell between the ribs.

Split the head open lengthwise with a hard blow of a knife and remove and discard the gritty stomach sac. Pour the coral (if any) and the green matter (which is the liver) into a stainer over a bowl, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and reserve. Put the saffron to soak.

In a heavy-bottomed pan big-enough to contain the lobsters and sauce, fry the onion and leek gently in 3 tablespoons olive oil until translucent. Add the garlic, chopped tomatoes, tomato paste and liquid, wine, orange juice, and bay leaf. Season and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.

Add the fennel, parsley, mint, saffron and liquid, and lobster tail pieces and claws with their shells (but not the legs) and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes.

In the meantime push the coral and liver of the lobster through the strainer and beat the pur‚e with the remaining olive oil. When the lobster has simmered for 10 minutes, ladle out about 1 cup sauce and beat this into the coral pur‚e. Pour this back into the pot, stir, and simmer for another 10 minutes. Serve with saffron rice.

Source: Recipes from a Greek Island - by Susie Jacobs ISBN: 0-671-74531-X

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