From the Tate Etc. archive, chef Valentine Warner takes inspiration from Charles Collins’ Lobster on a Delft Dish in a recipe for Lobster Mojo de Ajo

I love lobsters. They are worriers and I empathise with their grumpy but harmless nature. However, they are delicious to eat…

Lobster Mojo de Ajo (serves 2–4)
1 x 900g live lobster

For the mojo de ajo sauce
1 generous head garlic
roughly 100ml light olive oil
2 plump chipotle chillies, finely chopped
1 large lime, freshly squeezed
½ tsp flaked sea salt
fresh coriander leaves, to garnish
lime wedges, to serve

First peel all the garlic cloves and chop to medium fine. Put in a small pan and cover with sunflower oil. Bring the oil up to a gentlest simmer and set the heat, allowing the little lemonade lines of tiny bubbles to fizz from the garlic. Do not overheat or boil at any cost or the garlic will burn. Scientific attention is needed. The garlic is ready when it begins to turn an old ivory colour. This will take ten to fifteen minutes. At this point drop in the finely chopped chipotles, the squeezed lime juice and the salt. Thirty seconds after adding these turn off the heat and allow the mixture to stand for at least three hours.

To cook the lobster, light the barbecue and leave to burn until a light dusting of grey ash covers the coals. (You can also cook the lobster under the grill for four minutes on each side.) Do not remove the bands from the lobster’s claws until you have killed it, as this will only result in severed fingers on the kitchen floor. When killing your dinner do it swiftly, as squeamish scrapings on the shell with a knife will only distress the lobster. Lay the lobster flat on a board and hold it down firmly with a cloth to prevent it arching up. Picking up a large heavy knife, deftly and without hesitation drive the point into the middle of its head and on to the board. Lever the blade down to cut between the eyes. Turn it round. Put the blade back into where you made the first entry and cut the other way straight down and through the middle of the tail section. Remove the green parts inside the lobster’s head and throw away with the snipped off elastic bands. Taking a rolling pin, crack the claws without pulverising them and leaving the shell on. Brush the tail meat generously with the garlic oil, but not the tasty sediment in the bottom. Salt lightly. Put the lobster on the barbecue, flesh side down. Cook for four minutes before turning on to the shell side and cooking until it has all turned vibrant red (approximately another four minutes). Lift off the rack, and put on a serving plate. Spoon over the sauce liberally, ensuring you get lots of garlic and chilli from the bottom and less oil. Garnish the empty head cavity with coriander and lime wedges for squeezing. Serve with cold beer.

This article appears in issue 16 of Tate Etc. magazine 
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