Have you ever dropped a live lobster into a pot of boiling water? Not something I had ever wanted or ever intend to do in my life. So, when I was asked to cook a wild foraged recipe with lobster for Ben Fogle, filmed for America's Today Show, I must say, I hesitated slightly. Imagining the ASPCA (U.S equivalent to the RSPCA) lobby hounding me forever, for cooking lobster on air, I did as much research as I could into the least cruel way to cook lobster.
There is a huge diversity of advice out there regarding lobster preparation ranging from the downright barbaric to the sensible and least pain inflicting. Claims that lobsters don't have a brain and a highly developed nervous system so it's ok to treat them horribly just doesn't ring true to me. All living animals must feel pain. The RSPCA have produced a protocol for killing crustaceans for eating, which, in my opinion is the most thorough and comprehensive advice on the web.
So, that aside, I took Ben foraging for rock samphire, wild fennel, laver seaweed, gutweed, wood sorrel and chickweed. I made a rock samphire, fennel and lobster risotto. I served the lobster tail sliced across the top of the risotto and sprinkled crispy roasted bright green gutweed seaweed across the lobster and garnished with wood sorrel, chickweed and nasturtium flowers. I was very happy with it and the camera man said it wast the most beautiful thing he'd ever seen! Sadly, my camera was broken so I didn't get a shot of it but once it's aired I'll get it on my website….
We ate our risotto with a crisp white above the beach at sunset…
The film ends with Ben asking me 'Can you hear the bells?' to which I wasn't supposed to give an answer. After about 20 takes of 'Can you hear the bells?' in a range of quizzical tones, I began to wonder if I'd missed the joke…. and found the whole thing completely hilarious, whilst trying to keep a straight..ish face. It all became clear when they put it into the context of the lost land of Lyonesse…an ancient Cornish legend.