31 August 2010

Seafood Fra Diavolo

There is something so pretty about a cooked lobster! That shade of coral can't be found in many places and for me, it's a sure reminder of summertime and hot beach days followed by an easy boiled dinner with garden vegetables. Fall is showing signs of its approach, though, and the lobsters will soon be a thing of the past. The local season ends when the Fall storms rile up the seas off  the coast of New England, making lobstering too dangerous. So, by November it's tough to find affordable lobster that hasn't traveled too far from the sea to your plate. I have found a small local outfit, though, to which I plan to give my business right up to the time when the owner's son must stop taking his boat out for the season. (He's selling lobsters for $4.99/lb these days ... a real deal!)  And just before he stops pulling his traps, I plan to buy several lobsters to boil. Then, I'll freeze the meat in small batches and have lobster casseroles and lobster mashed potatoes, and lobster dip around the holidays. Yum!

Tonight, though, I have been craving pasta and seafood. So for your inspection and hopefully, inspiration ... Seafood Fra Diavolo. For this recipe, I'm changing up the traditional just a bit. I boiled the lobsters in a hot water bath that has added herbs and some veggies to fortify the broth that the lobsters give up while cooking. Then, I use some of the broth in the tomato sauce that has many more herbs to create the hot spicy finish. I really love Thai hot chili sauce, so I used two teaspoonsful along with the red pepper flakes ... the traditional recipe calls for a Tabasco sauce, but I find Tabasco has a strange aftertaste ... personal preference, what can I say?  I also use fresh tarragon, which is strong and does wonderful things for the sauce ...  much more flavor comes from the fresh herb. I ended up putting the dried tarragon away. Finally, I topped my lobster sauce with pan-seared scallops that were flash seared and then finished on top of the hot sauce. The sauce was perfect over a plate of linguini fini ... you can use whatever pasta you love best.

After Dinner Note:

This recipe makes a pan of sauce that will feed 4 - 6 people.  I took two small containers and set them aside for pizza topping sauce BEFORE I put the lobster and scallops into the sauce. SB and I still had plenty for dinner. No leftovers, tonight!

Seafood Fra Diavolo - printer friendly

Seafood Fra Diavolo
Serves: 4 - 6


2 chicken lobsters (1.5 lbs plus each)
1 celery stalk
1 carrot, peeled
Sprig tarragon
Black peppercorns (about 10)
3 plum tomatoes, chopped
12 perfect white sea scallops (bigger the better) – cut to bite-sized pieces and salted and peppered
1 large onion, chopped
2 scallion cloves, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp. fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 tbsp. fresh tarragon, chopped
¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
½ tsp. dried basil
4 large white mushrooms (the stuffers), quartered and sliced thick
2 tsp. hot chili sauce (Thai chili sauce is kickass)
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
1 small can (6 oz.) tomato paste
1 large can (28 oz.) crushed tomatoes
½ c. olive oil
1 ¾ c. lobster water/broth
Linguine fini or Spaghettini for 4 people

Making the Dish:

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil – add stalk of celery, a peeled carrot, a sprig of tarragon, salt, pepper corns, a few tomatoes, and the two lobsters.

2. Cover the pan and boil the lobsters for 15 minutes. Remove them to a large platter and turn off the heat under the broth.

3. When the lobsters are cool enough to handle, remove the tail and claw meat. Drain the juices back into the pot of broth.

4. Chop the lobster meat into bite-sized chunks and refrigerate for later.

5. Cool the broth and strain 1 ¾ c. into a cup and refrigerate for later.

6. In a large saucepan, sauté in ¼ c. olive oil the onion, scallions, and garlic until golden.

7. Add the herbs, the chopped mushrooms, and chili sauce and continue sauté for a few minutes.

8. Add the tomato paste and the other ¼ c. olive and stir to loosen the paste and combine with other ingredients.

9. Add the crushed tomatoes and the reserved lobster broth and bring to a slow boil. Reduce heat and simmer for an hour. Stir every so often to stop any sticking.

10. Add more of the herbs, to taste.

11. Bring a large pasta pot of water to a boil and add the pasta.

12. While pasta cooks, add the lobster meat to the sauce.

13. Heat a small non-stick fry pan over medium-high heat. Add a small amount of olive oil and the scallops. Pan sear them for about 1 minute per side (this depends on the size you make your scallop bites).

14. Remove from the heat and set aside.

15. Drain the pasta and place it in a large pasta bowl, toss with just a bit of butter and salt and pepper.

16. Spoon some of the lobster tomato sauce over the pasta and top with the scallops, more chopped parsley, and some good quality Parmesan cheese.

17. Serve immediately with toasted Rustica bread and whatever accompaniments you choose.


  1. I love the presentation of your lobster dish - so very mediterranean. And what a steal at $4.99!

  2. Oh gosh, how I miss a good lobster (I was born on Cape Cod) :)

  3. Important tip. Always remove the rubber bands from the claws before cooking the lobsters, this is to prevent the taste of rubber. You can't have any rubber in the same pot as you cook them in. A lobster cooked without the rubber bands will always taste better. Tried, tested and true.

    1. Thank you, Blaine! I never knew this! I've always been afraid the lively buggers would nip me if I took the bands off! I'll definitely brave it next time I boil lobster!


Anonymous comments will not be accepted. Please be aware that due to spamming concerns, I must be able to track back.