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Caldero Murciano

Serves 4-6

Preparation 15 minutes + 12 hours

cooking time 4-4.5 hours

Recipe Miguel Maestre
Wine Matches Peter Bourne
‍Photography Jeremy Simons
Styling Vanessa Austin


1 large (600g-1kg) live crayfish or lobster
250ml extra-virgin olive oil
2 noras (see tip)
400g giant king prawns, unpeeled,
heads removed and reserved
2 ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped
2l chicken stock or water
2 ½ small heads of garlic, peeled and smashed separately
400g Calasparra rice
salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
200g monkfish or flathead fillet, skin and bones removed, cut into 5 cm pieces
1 small boiled potato, peeled
1 egg yolk
olive oil, for drizzling
salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper

Tip: Noras are dried peppers, available from Spanish delicatessens. If you can’t find them, use smoked paprika instead.


1 Place the lobster in a plastic bag and leave it in the freezer for 1 hour to goto sleep.

2Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan over high heat until smoking.Fry the noras for 1 minute, then remove and set aside. Fry the reserved prawn heads until pink, then remove and discard.

3Add the tomato and fry for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, then pour in the chicken stock or water and bring to a simmer.

4Separately smash the fried noras and one head of garlic using a mortar andpestle. Add them to the pot and cook for 5 minutes over high heat.

5Blanch the lobster in the liquid for 7 minutes, then remove and cut in half.Remove the flesh from the shell (reserve the shell) and set aside in a bowl.

6Scoop out 250ml of the stock and reserve.

7Reduce the heat to low, add the rice to the remaining stock, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes. Add the prawns in the last 4 minutes and the fish in the last 2 minutes.

8Put the second smashed head of garlic in a food processor. Add the reserved stock and process until smooth. Pour over the lobster tails.

9To make the ‘ajo’, which normally goes with this dish, smash the remaining half head of garlic and the boiled potato using a mortar and pestle. Add the egg yolk and beat well until smooth and creamy. While beating, add enough oil to achieve a consistency similar to mayonnaise. Season to taste and to serve, fill the reserved lobster shells with rice and serve with lobster tails.

Wine Match

2021 Margan White Label Ceres Hill Albariño, Hunter Valley, A$34

Maestre takes this Murcian dish upmarket by using crayfish rather than the traditional by-catch of the local fisherman. He suggests bubbles but I think its needs something with more fruit weight and texture. Andrew Margan planted albariño, the white grape from Galicia, in 2014 with the aim of making a savoury white with grapefruit pith flavours and a crisp, mineral-etched acidity. His 2021 Ceres Hill is just that with the power and thrust to match the dense sea-sweet meat of the crayfish and the egg-rich ajo sauce.