Havskräftor from the west coast are a much-loved treat in Sweden. Havskräftor are known by various names including langoustine, scampi, Norwegian lobster and sea crayfish. Whatever they are called in your part of the world they are always expensive (between £1 and £2 each in the UK, depending on size), but they are a wonderful treat. The texture and flavour is so much better than prawns (shrimps) and arguably than from lobster.
If you have some really fresh langoustine then the best way of eating them is probably with some good homemade mayonnaise, plenty of lemon wedges, a good salad and some nice white bread.
If you have frozen langoustine then in the summer they are probably best barbecued, but in the winter they make a delicious starter if cooked quickly in a lovely herb and buttery sauce. John Duxbury
• Swedes leave the heads on when serving gratinerade havskräftor. It makes the starter look big, impressive and indulgent, but I don't think the flavour is as good and not is it worth the mess they create so I normally just serve the tails!
• Put the dish in the centre of the table and let people help themselves and dip their bread in the lovely buttery juices.
• If you have them, bake the langoustine in individual gratin dishes.
• Some Swedes like to use a mixture of herbs such as chives, basil, chervil or a small pinch of thyme.
|8-16||langoustine, depending on size|
|2 tbsp||parsley, finely chopped|
|100 g||(½ cup)||butter, softened|
|½||lemon, grated zest and juice only|
|50 g||(1¾ oz)||Västerbottensost or Parmesan cheese|
1. Preheat the oven to 250°C (480°F, gas 9, fan 220°C).
2. Optional step: twist off the heads of the langoustines.
3. Lay your langoustines on their backs on a chopping board and, with a sharp knife, saw through their shells lengthways – cutting three-quarters, not all, of the way through. Open them out in a butterfly style and flatten them down gently with the heel of your hand. Remove the intestine running along the middle of the body. Place the langoustine in a large gratin dish or individual gratin dishes.
4. Finely chop the garlic, shallot and herbs. Mix with the butter.
5. Add the grated lemon and the juice of half a lemon and mix thoroughly.
6. Spread the mixture over the langoustine.
7. Grate the Västerbottensost over the langoustine.
8. Bake at the top of an oven for 5-7 minutes.
9. Serve with a small salad and lantbröd (rustic bread).
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