January 31, 2008
We finally made it to Xcalak, David, after a grueling road trip through Guanajuato, Oaxaca and Chiapas. We were looking forward to enjoying Veracruz fare, but the floods detoured us to the Pacific side. The only thing we found to nibble on were some ears of roasted corn that were unsuitable for horses. The fires smelled good and the Mezcal was wonderful.
Here in Xcalak, we quickly met an elderly Spanish woman named Inéz. The local men flock to her home, lured by the aroma of fresh seafood from her kitchen and the sweet citrus perfume wafting from her cleavage. She makes them wait in pairs by the door until the previous pair stumbles out the door.
Jennifer and I were last in line and when 2 very drunk men stumbled out, she wiped her brow kindly invited us in for a glass of Sherry. “Este noche cenamos con langosta,” she boomed and with that we were surrounded by 5 beautiful young ladies busily refilling our glasses and bringing little tastes of grilled sardines, shrimp with spicy tomato and fresh goat cheese.
Inéz ordered the girls around while whisking the olive oil into the mashed potatoes and when I asked if I could help her in the kitchen, she was more than willing to order me around as well. The 8 of us sat down to the most wonderful lobster I’ve ever tasted. More wine flowed and it was a happy ending.
1 large lobster tail, about half a kilo. I prefer spiny lobster, but use what’s local
Couple pinches of Pimentón de La Vera picante
1/2 cup of white wine
1 Tbs Olive oil
Cut the lobster tails in half lengthwise. Clean and pat dry. Season with sea salt and Pimenton. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 2 hours.
When the potatoes are ready, heat the olive oil in a saute pan and add the lobster flesh side down. Sear for about a minute and turn the lobster shell side down. Add a little bit of the wine and drink the rest. After the alcohol has burned off, about a minute, baste the lobster with the sauce and cook for about 3 minutes more until just opaque.
2 Arran Victory, Golden Wonder or your favorite mashing potatoes cut into cubes
1/4 cup Arbequina olive oil
2 Tbs butter
1 clove fresh garlic, core removed and minced
Add the potatoes to a pot of water with 2 pinches of salt and bring to a boil for 15 minutes or until fork tender. Drain and push through a fine mesh sieve. Add the butter, garlic, a pinch of salt and whip the olive oil in a slow drizzle. Taste and adjust salt.
Mound the mashed potatoes in the center of the plate and top with one half of the lobster tail. Garnish with cilantro and serve with a medium bodied white from Rueda or a light bodied Sicilian red.