Fisherman's spelt

Serves 4

Barbecues aren't just for grilling, particularly if you have one of those fancy numbers with a gas burner on the side. If you haven't got one then you need to cook this dish using a cooler section of the barbecue. It's rather like a paella and can be cooked while you are doing starters and then served as a main course. It's a version of the fisherman's rice that you see in Spain and Italy. Use a selection of fish and shellfish, or just stick to shellfish.

120g spelt, soaked in cold water for 2 hours
1tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled, halved and finely chopped
1 lobster weighing about 500-600g
200g cleaned squid, cut into rough 2cm squares
8 medium scallops, shucked
200g mussels or clams, cleaned and bearded
1tbsp chopped parsley (stalks reserved for sauce
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the stock

1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
6 cloves of garlic, peeled and halved
1tbsp olive oil
1tsp fennel seeds
10 black peppercorns
A good pinch of saffron
1 small 200g can of chopped tomatoes
1.2-1.5ltr fish stock

Put the lobster in the freezer for about 1 hour and then plunge into boiling salted water and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the water and run under the cold tap for 5 minutes or so to cool. Remove the tail, halve it down the middle and cut each half in half again. Remove the meat from the claws and legs and put to one side with the tail. Break up the head and claw shells with a rolling pin or back of a heavy knife.

To make the stock, heat the oil in a pan and fry the lobster shells, onion and spices on a medium heat for a few minutes. Add a good knob of butter and add the parsley stalks, then add the tomatoes and stock. Bring to the boil, season and simmer gently for 45 minutes and strain through a fine-meshed sieve, then season to taste.

Heat the olive oil in a heavy-based saucepan and gently cook the onion for 3-4 minutes on a low heat without colouring, add the drained spelt and stir over the heat for 30 seconds then gradually add the stock in about 4 stages, stirring every so often and ensuring that each addition is absorbed before adding the next. When the spelt is almost cooked, stir in all of the fish and parsley (the spelt should be quite wet and soupy at this stage), season, then put a lid on the pan and cook for a couple of minutes or until the mussels open. Serve immediately.

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