Langoustines with cooked spinach, purple basil and tomato aïoli

Langoustines with cooked spinach, purple basil and tomato aïoli

By
From
My Favourite Ingredients
Serves
4
Photographer
Jason Lowe

I love this combination of earthy, inky green leaves and sweet, succulent langoustines – or Dublin Bay prawns as they are also known. The tomato aïoli brings the flavours together perfectly. If you cannot get langoustines, you’ll find the dish also works beautifully with prawns or griddled scallops.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
24 live langoustines, (6 per person)
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
40ml extra virgin olive oil
1 lemon, grated zest
1/2 lemon, juiced
300g young spinach leaves, (or pousse)
bunch purple basil, leaves only

Fresh tomato aïoli

Quantity Ingredient
3 little ripe plum tomatoes
3 organic free-range egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 lemon, juiced
250ml extra virgin olive oil

Method

  1. Start by making the aïoli. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Pierce each tomato once with a small sharp knife and place in a small roasting tray. Roast on the middle shelf of the oven for 15 minutes or until the tomatoes are soft and their skins have split slightly. Set aside to cool.
  2. Place the egg yolks in a food processor and add the mustard, garlic, lemon juice and the cooled tomatoes. Add a pinch of salt and a little pepper. Whiz briefly to combine. Now, with the motor running, slowly add the olive oil through the feeder tube in a fine stream until it is all incorporated and the aïoli is emulsified. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
  3. For the langoustines, place a large pot of water on to boil and salt it generously. When it reaches a rolling boil, drop in the langoustines and cook for 3 minutes. Remove and allow to cool. When cool enough to handle, peel the langoustines, removing the flesh in one piece. Season with salt and pepper and dress with a little of the olive oil. Sprinkle with a few drops of lemon juice.
  4. Wash the spinach in several changes of cold water to ensure that no dirt is clinging to the leaves. Warm a medium heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat. Add the spinach, in batches if necessary, with just the water clinging to the leaves. This alone will create steam and allow the spinach to quickly wilt. Once wilted, tip it into a colander and allow to cool. When cool, squeeze the spinach between the palms of your hands to remove as much moisture as possible. Dress with the remaining olive oil, and the lemon zest and juice. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. To assemble the salad, place the spinach in a bowl with the basil and langoustines. Toss together gently to combine. Arrange on individual serving plates and spoon a little of the aïoli over the top.
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