For a while, it looked like this recipe wasn't going to happen. One week, we ran out of time to shoot it, the next our local seafood store was out of lobster, the week after that Amanda and I were both going to be away and couldn't do a shoot. It was beginning to seem like one of my all-time favorite dishes -- which I've sampled all up and down the Northeast coast, from Esca in New York to Street and Company in Portland, Maine -- simply wasn't meant to be. At least not this summer on Food52.
But then at the end of August, I spent a week with my family in Maine, and the opportunity presented itself: a fisherman friend offered to drop off a bunch of lobsters, and I knew exactly what was going to be on the menu. If it's done right, Lobster Diavolo sings with the fresh, juicy tang of summer tomatoes and thrums with the gentle heat of chilis. When tossed with al dente pasta, the sauce provides a kicky backdrop that complements rather than overwhelms the sweet suppleness of the lobster itself. I like to keep the lobster in large pieces so it looks pretty on the plate, and I've always loved Esca's addition of fresh mint, so I adopted it myself.
Last week, we were finally able to shoot this dish. We snuck in the photo at the very end of the day, as the light was waning. Once we had the shot, and we were all gathered around the pan, forking up spicy strands of pasta and sweet chunks of lobster, I felt that somehow, summer was now complete.
- 2 pounds Roma tomatoes (or 28 ounces canned tomatoes with their juices)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for finishing
- 2 fat cloves garlic, crushed
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
- Two 1.5-pound live lobsters
- 1/2 pound spaghetti
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh mint
Like this post? See Merrill's post from last week: Two-Tone Fudgesicles
Photos by Nicole Franzen and Joseph Di Leo.
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