It must be karma that I didn’t write this review immediately. The reason I say this, is that I was able to make Tagliatelle with Tarragon Lobster and Asparagus twice before sitting down to write.
I’ve been waiting to make this recipe (page 206) from the 200 Best Canned Fish and Seafood Recipes cookbook, but four servings of seafood pasta is too much for my husband and I, so I decided to take it to a dinner party on the long weekend a few weeks ago and then my husband asked me to make it again the following weekend for another group of friends. Asparagus season has started and seafood pasta is always a hit – the timing was right. This recipe is very straightforward and fast to make. Both times I made it, I received great reviews and was asked to share the recipe. But I have to be honest, I think there is something missing from the recipe – and after making it a second time, I still don’t know what it is.
The first time I followed the recipe as written (by Susan Sampson) with canned lobster and tarragon. The second time, I thought I’d try fresh lobster to see if that was the flavour I missed. In keeping with the fast/easy theme for the recipe, I decided to see if my favourite fish shop had some fresh, but cooked lobster in their cooler. Unfortunately, they didn’t have any prepped, but they did have freshly frozen lobster, which I bought. I also substituted fresh basil for the tarragon in the second version to see if herbs could make a difference and added 3 cloves of fresh garlic. All of the other ingredients remained the same.
Variations recommended by the author include using equal amounts of tuna, salmon, mackerel, shrimp, oysters or mussels.
Hint: If using delicate or flaky seafood, smoked oysters or smoked mussels don’t simmer; just toss gently with the pasta.
You can also substitute any ribbon type pasta for the tagliatelle.
This is a very easy recipe to make and I really like the asparagus-tagliatelle-shallot-cheese-white pepper combination. It’s the seafood choice that I think makes the difference. Without trying other seafood or fish, I can’t say what would make this recipe a total win for me. I’ll let you decide for yourself…
Tagliatelle with Tarragon Lobster and Asparagus
- 1 bunch asparagus (about 1lb/500 g), trimmed
- 12 oz (375 g) tagliatelle
- 2 tbsp (30 ml) unsalted butter
- ¼ cup (60 ml) extra virgin olive oil
- 2 shallots , chopped
- 1 tbsp (15 ml) vodka
- 2 tbsp (30 ml) heavy cream (35%) heavy cream
- 1 tbsp (15 ml) chopped tarragon leaves
- ¼ tsp (1ml) salt
- ¼ tsp (1ml) freshly ground white pepper
- 1 can (11.3 oz/320 g) lobster meat, rinsed, drained and chopped into chunks
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
In a pot large enough to accommodate the pasta, bring salted water to a boil over high heat.
Meanwhile, cut off asparagus tips. Slice remaining asparagus on diagonal into ½-inch (1 cm) segments. Add asparagus (tips and stems) to pot and cook until tender-crisp, about 3 minutes. Using a mesh scoop, transfer to a sieve and rinse under cold running water to stop the cooking. Set tips and stems aside separately.
Add pasta to boiling water and cook over medium heat and tender to the bite (al dente), about 12 minutes. Scoop about 1/2 cup (125 ml) cooking water and set aside. Drain pasta.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter with oil. Add shallots. Cook, stirring, for about 2 to 3 minutes, until they turn golden brown. Stir in vodka and boil for 30 seconds. Stir in cream, tarragon, salt, pepper and lobster. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for about 2 minutes, until the lobster warms up and releases excess liquid. Remove from heat and set aside, covered.
Add pasta and asparagus stem segments (not the tips) to skillet and toss to coat evenly. If pasta seems dry or difficult to toss, add enough reserved cooking water to moisten and loosen it. Taste and add salt, if desired.
Transfer to a warmed serving platter or individual bowls. Sprinkle with parmesan and scatter asparagus tips overtop. Serve immediately.
Disclaimer: I was given a copy of this cookbook for review purposes. No other compensation was received.