Yuletide favourites: Flambeed lobster with tomato sauce

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By Debbie Yong

The Business Times

Wednesday, Dec 18, 2013

  • Keeping with tradition

    Maria Sevillano
    Owner-chef of Spanish restaurant, My Little Spanish Place on Bukit Timah Road

    "When I was a child, Christmas was seen as a religious rather than commercial event. My family would start dinner around 11pm on Christmas Eve. We always keep to a very traditional menu, with dishes such as embutidos (cured sausages), langotinos (lobsters), esparagos (asparagus), and sopa de marisco (seafood soup). Depending on the mood of the chef of the night - usually one of my uncles or my grandmother - there would also be seabass, cochinillo (suckling pig) or cordero (suckling lamb) asado, and a traditional Christmas salad of oranges, black olives and pomegranate. After dinner, we'll stay around the table, talking and playing cards. A spread of turrones, postres and chocolates from dinner will stay on the table until the early morning, when the piping hot churros arrive.

    "On Christmas Day, we would go to church, followed by some vermouth - a quick drink before lunch with few light tapas - and then lunch at home. In Spain, you'd traditionally receive your Christmas present from the Three Kings on Jan 6 rather than from Santa. You'd get a gift if you have been nice over the year. If not, they would bring you a piece of carbon (a piece of hard candy dyed black) instead. The tradition at our home was that my younger brother and I would always get the present along with a piece of carbon to remind us that we have not always been good.

    "When it comes to my family these days, I tend to mix my Spanish traditions with the traditions of the countries where I have been living since I left Spain many years ago. My two children, Marc and Marie-Luce, still have their presents at Christmas, but for a long time they have also been receiving a small present on Three Kings Day. We try as best as we can to stay close to the family even though we are living far from home."

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  • (serves 2)
  • 2 lobsters 500g to 700g
  • 6 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons of butter (50g)
  • 12 ml of brandy
  • 12 ml of white wine
  • one small red onion
  • 300 g of ripe tomatoes
  • one garlic clove
  • Mixed herbs
  • Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Cayenne pepper (depending on taste)
  • 1. Preheat the oven to 180-200 deg C
  • 2. Peel and dice the onion and garlic
  • 3. Wash and dice the tomatoes.
  • 4. Cut lobsters in half and season with salt
  • 5. In a non-stick pan, warm up two tablespoons of olive oil. When oil is heated, add the lobsters and fry them for five minutes
  • 6. In the meantime, warm up the brandy. When the brandy is heated, add it to the lobster and flambe them. Remove the lobsters from the frying pan and place them in an oven tray. Add some butter on top of the meat and leave to cook in the oven for 15 minutes.
  • 8. In another frying pan, warm up the rest of the olive oil. Fry onion and garlic till golden and then add tomatoes and cook for five minutes. Add salt, pepper and mixed herbs followed by white wine. Cook for 10 minutes, then add the cayenne pepper to taste. Cook for five more minutes.
  • 9. After 15 minutes, remove the lobsters from the oven, place them in a serving plate and add the sauce on top.