What Isla’s Dad Ate…

I think my Dad is trying to add a bit of class to my humble site, please tell me if you try this…

Langouste a la Sétoise 

Elisabeth David’s book French Provincial Cookery provides a recipe for Langouste Comme Chez Nenette. Mrs David writes that this dish has its origins in Sete.  Sete is port and a seaside resort on the Languedoc- Roussillon coast, just southwest of Montpellier.  A number of powerful tasting shellfish/fish casserole dishes are associated with Sete.  These are part of that family of seafood casseroles found along the western shore of the Mediterranean, which include bourride, bouillabaisse, caldereta de llamàntol and burrida

Like most chefs, when presented with a recipe I have to start fiddling with it.  So below is how I prepare Langouste in the style of Sete, which probably the good people of the area would not recognise, using Elisabeth David’s recipe as starting point.

Langoustes, in English Spiny or Rock Lobster or Crawfish, are part of a worldwide group of lobster type shellfish without claws. This shellfish is rarely available for sale in most United Kingdom fishmongers.  I have found them for sale occasionally in the Bullring Market in Birmingham, for over a year at my local supermarket frozen – £10 for two, a remarkable bargain and through the internet. In the recipe below, I use frozen langouste tails due to the opportunity to buy them fresh and whole being rare. Other shellfish such as lobsters and langoustines/scampi you can use for this dish.

For four people

  • Four x150g                        Langouste tails                                    Four x 6oz
  • 100g                                Finely sliced onions                            4oz
  • 100g                                Finely sliced fennel                            4oz
  • 100g                                Sweet red pepper, roasted,                     4oz

skinned and finely sliced

  • 50g                                          Celery peeled and finely sliced              2oz
  • 450g                                Tomatoes peeled, seeded               1lb

and chopped

  • 15g                                  Finely shredded basil                                ½ oz
  • 125ml                              Garlic mayonnaise                    5floz
  • 50ml                                Extra virgin olive oil                             2floz
  • 125g                                Reduced shellfish stock                      5floz
  • 50ml                                White wine                                        2floz
  • 25ml                                Brandy                                                           1floz
  • 25ml                                Aniseed based liquor                                 1floz

Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Sweat onions, fennel, celery and peppers until very soft in the 25ml/1ozolive oil
  2. 2.    Add tomatoes, shellfish stock and white wine – note: depending on the quality of tomatoes you may have to add some tomatoe puree
  3. Reduce to a thick sauce
  4. Stir in brandy and aniseed based liqueur
  5. Slice langoustine tails in to two cm/½ inch roundels
  6. Sauté roundels in remaining olive oil
  7. Add sauce, bring to boil
  8. Take of heat
  9. Blend in garlic mayonnaise and add basil then serve in a hot dish


Shellfish Stock

450g             Lobster, crab, prawn, shrimp shells    1lb

50g               Chopped fennel                        2oz

50G              Chopped celery                                      2oz                       

50g               Chopped onion                                       2oz

50g               Chopped leek                                        2oz

100g             Chopped tomatoes                    4oz

2                  Cloves garlic crushed

25g              Parsley stalks                                       1oz

1                  Bay leaf

12                White peppercorns

50 ml           Olive oil                                   2floz

Two             Star anise

1 litres          Water                                                   2 pints

125 ml          Dry white wine                                    ¼ pint

  1. Fry fennel, celery, onion  and leek in the olive oil to golden brown( do not burn) in large pot
  2. Remove the vegetables from the pot
  3. Fry shells in the pot stirring all the time for five minutes
  4. Add the fried vegetables, tomatoes, garlic,  parsley stalks, bay leaf ,peppercorns and parsley stalks, then cover with the water
  5. Bring to the boil, skimming regularly.
  6. Place on to low heat.  Allow stock to cook gently – barely simmering for one hour
  7. Strain stock and reduce by gentle boiling to 125ml/5floz


Garlic mayonnaise

  • 125ml                Extra virgin Olive Oil                          5floz
  • 1             Egg yolk
  • 4             Cloves of garlic – crushed
  • I/2 tbsp    Water

Salt and pepper to taste


1                              Blend garlic, egg yolk and water together

2                              Whisk the mixture in a figure of eight motion gradually adding the olive oil



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