Roast Bahamian Lobster with Chili, Saffron, Vanilla, and Rum
Bahamian lobsters, unlike their northern kin, have no claws. Either type of lobster will work in this recipe, in which Caribbean cooking establishes a beachhead in South Florida.
- Green Papaya Slaw
- Green Papaya - 1 medium
- Red Bell Pepper - 1 , seeded, deribbed, and cut in julienne
- Carrot - 1 small, cut in julienne
- White Onion - 1 small, cut in julienne
- Fresh Ginger - 2 tablespoons, cut in julienne
- Juice of 1 large lime
- Olive Oil - 1 tablespoons
- Celery Seeds - 2 teaspoons
- Kosher salt - 1 tablespoon
- Freshly ground white pepper - 1 teaspoon
- Olive Oil - 1/4 cup
- Dry white wine - 1 cup
- Shallots - 2, minced
- Vanilla bean - 1, split lengthwise
- Scotch bonnet (habanero) pepper - 1 teaspoon, minced
- Pinch of saffron
- Myers’s dark rum - 4 tablespoons
To make the slaw: With a small sharp knife, peel the skin from the papaya. Cut the flesh into quarters and discard the green seeds. Using a grater or mandolin, julienne the papaya pieces. In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients and toss well. Let sit for 1 hour to let the flavors blend.
To prepare the lobsters: Light a wood or charcoal fire in a grill. (The lobsters may also be broiled under a preheated broiler, or baked entirely in a 350 F oven until the meat is opaque). Kill the lobster by using the point of a large knife to make a small incision in the back of the shell where the chest and the tail meet. Twist the body (head) and tail apart, and twist off the legs where they join the body. Reserve the legs to use for stock another time. With a large, heavy, sharp knife, cut through each tail shell lengthwise on the top side all the way down to the small flippers, spread it open, and pull out the meat, leaving it attached to the shell at the tail end. Remove and discard the black strip. Lay the meat on top of the shell and sprinkle with thyme, salt, and pepper. Drizzle the olive oil over the lobster and set and lobster aside for 15 minutes.
To make the glaze: Heat a medium saute pan or skillet over high heat, add the wine and shallots, and cook to reduce for 1 minute. Add the vanilla bean, hot pepper, saffron, and 3 tablespoons of the rum. Continue to cook over medium heat until the glaze is thick, syrupy, and reduced to 1/2 cup, about 10 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Place the lobsters meat-side down on the grill and cook about 5 minutes, until they are nicely seared and have absorbed some of the smoky flavor of the grill. Remove the lobsters to a heavy metal sizzle platter and brush with glaze. Place the pan in the oven and roast for 8 minutes. Brush the lobsters with the remaining glaze. Add 1 tablespoon of rum to the pan, warm it, avert your face, and light it with a match. Shake the pan until the flames subside, then turn the lobsters in the pan to pick up the juices.
To serve: Place a mound of papaya slaw in the center of each serving plate. Remove the lobster from each shell and lay the tail over the slaw on each plate. Brush with any remaining glaze and serve.