A succulent, white shellfish, langoustines (also known as scampi and Dublin Bay prawns) are closely related to the lobster, though are more the size of a large prawn. They are a high-value shellfish that are landed in the North Atlantic and then transported to the Mediterranean and France where they’re very popular.
Whole roast John Dory with mussels and langoustine
Wow guests at a dinner party with this luxurious main course. Serve with buttered new potatoes and greens.
- olive oil for drizzling
- 50g/1¾oz butter
- 1 lemon, zest only
- 2-3 fat garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1 large John Dory (around 1kg/2lb 4oz,) cleaned and gutted
- 3-4 bay leaves
- 100ml/3½fl oz white wine or vermouth
- 300g/10½oz mussels, cleaned, de-bearded
- 8 langoustine, raw shell-on
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas 6.
Line a large roasting tin with foil, leaving plenty of overlap so you can create a tent around the fish and shellfish. Drizzle the foil with olive oil and add a few small knobs of butter and scatter with half of the lemon zest and garlic. Season the fish inside and out. Place a small amount of the remaining lemon zest, garlic and a bay leaf inside the fish. Place the fish on top of the seasoned foil, cover with the remaining lemon zest, garlic and bay leaves and pour over the white wine or vermouth, then drizzle with a little more olive oil.
Bring the foil together over the fish and fold over the edges to seal and make an airtight tent. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes.
Discard any open mussels that do not close when given a sharp tap. Remove the fish from the oven, open the foil and add the mussels and langoustine. Dot with more butter, then reseal the foil and return to the oven for 5-10 minutes, until the fish is cooked through and the mussels have opened. Discard any mussels that haven’t opened. Serve with the buttery juices spooned over.
Langoustines are usually sold frozen, ready-prepared with the shell removed, but they’re also available live. They are naturally pinky-orange in colour and turn a paler pink on cooking. Frozen, ready-prepared langoustines are easier to cook with. Fresh langoustines sold in their shells should be packed onto ice and smell very freshly of the sea.
Langoustines are available fresh or frozen, in and out of their shells.
Fresh langoustines need roasting or boiling in well-salted water before being pulled from their shells. They are delicious served with just a squeeze of lemon and a dollop of mayonnaise, garlic butter or aïoli, but can also be added to curry, pasta and paella. Alternatively, deep-fry them in batter, or peel and poach them and make traditional Scampi Provençal. Pre-boiled langoustines should be reheated gently; don’t re-cook them or they’ll toughen. Alternatively, eat pre-boiled langoustines cold in a salad with a vinegar dressing.