catalan stew with lobster and clams

prep time:  tbd
cook time:  90 minutes
servings:  4 - 6

2 lobsters, about 1 1/2 pounds each
1/4 cup whole almonds
1/4 cup hazelnuts
olive oil
2 slices day-old bread from a large french or italian loaf - crusts removed
1 medium onion - finely chopped
1 dried nora chiles or 1 dried ancho chile - stems and seeds removed
1 fresh red fresno chile - seeds removed and finely chopped
3 canned piquillo peppers - chopped
1 teaspoon pimenton dulce
4 garlic cloves - mined
1 cup tomato puree
1/2 cup dry white wine
12 littleneck clams or 24 manilla clams - rinsed
3 tablespoons chopped parsley

1.  boil or steam lobsters for 10 minutes, then rinse with cool water.  crack shells, remove mean and cut into large chunks.  put shells in a large pot, cover with 10 cups water and simmer for 20 - 30 minutes.  strain, reserve broth and discard shells.

2.  heat oven to 400 degrees.  place almonds and hazelnuts on a baking sheet and roast until fairly dark, about 12 - 15 minutes.  rub skins from hazelnuts; discard skins.

3.  place a large, wide heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat and add olive oil to depth of 1/4 inch.  when oil is hot, fry bread slices slowly on both sides until crisp and golden, 5 - 6 minutes, adjusting heat if bread is browning too quickly.  remove bread, drain on paper towel and cut into 1/2-in cubes; set aside.  pour off all but 4 tablespoon oil.  add onion to pot, season with salt and pepper and cook until onion is softened and lightly colored, about 10 minutes.

4.  meanwhile, put dried nora chiles in a small pot of water and simmer for 15 minutes, until softened, then drain, discarding water.

5.  put almonds, hazelnuts, fried bread, garlic, dried chiles, fresno chiles, piquillo peppers and pimenton in a large mortar (or food processor) and pound to a rough paste.

6.  add chile mixture to softened onions and cook over medium-high heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  add tomato puree and wine and simmer until mixture has dried out a bit.  add 8 cups lobster broth and simmer until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.  taste for salt and adjust seasoning.  if too thick, add a little more broth.

7.  bring to a brisk simmer and add clams.  when clams begin to open, add lobster meat and cook 5 minutes more.  stir in parsley and ladle the stew into bowls.

- new york times, september 2014

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