There are a lot of dishes that people just don’t cook because it seems very complicated or it has very expensive ingredients. Don’t let that ever stop you from trying. Lobster is one of these things.
First, always find a good purveyor for the lobster. Ask for a female, hard shell lobster. (visually females have smaller claws but bigger tails hence more meat). Brown Trading Company in Maine is one of these good companies. There are seafood markets in Austin that also sell lobster. Always buy live lobsters that are energetic.
We’re going to make a tender lobster dish with a velvety lemon pan sauce over elegant parmesan cheese mashed potatoes. So let’s get started.
- One or more 1-1.5-pound live lobster
- Fine dice (1/4”) of ¼ of red & yellow bell pepper, ¼ of a shallot & a 1” wide x 4” long x ¼” thick piece of skin on English cucumber.
- 2 teabags (Lipton orange pekoe is fine).
- 4 bay leaves
- ½ pound of your favourite butter (we use Plugra or Kerrygold)
- 1 teaspoon chopped Italian flat leaf
- well cooked & tender mashed potatoes from Yukon gold potatoes and parmesan cheese, salt, butter, milk and a little nutmeg.
- Fresh squeezed juice from 1 Meyer lemon (a gourmet sweeter lemon)
- Very fresh churned butter like Plugra or Kerrygold.
- Mild olive oil (We prefer Spanish in this case)
- Enough ice water to cover the lobster in a cold pot.
To PREP THE LOBSTER:
Steam the lobster FOR 3 MINUTES PER POUND in 2” of water with 2 teabags & bay leaves in a large pot with a lid. Once cooked for the right amount of time, submerge the lobster immediately in ice water to chill. Steaming is better than boiling to prevent dilution of the lobster flavour. This step just kills the lobster. It does not cook it. We will do that later below.
Take the lobster and cut the very tip (1/4 inch) of the claws off with kitchen shears and drain tail up in a big bowl for 10 min.
Wear an apron. Have two tea towels.
Remove the claws & arm at the body by twisting off.
Twist off the tail from the body/head.
With the towel use a hinge motion to break the arm (knuckle) from the claws.
Move the small pincher (bottom) up and down a few times and break off by using the hinge motion towards you and twist out leaving the meat out. If the meat also comes with the small pincer then use a lobster fork to grab it out.
With a back of a heavy knife crack the claw on the top arc just behind the claw hinge and twist the knife to separate the claw into two pieces from the meat.
To remove the tail meat I use good kitchen shears and cut carefully from the top & bottom of the tail and pull out the tail meat. Cut into even pieces.
I take off the legs, clip the ends that were attached to the body. Lay them with the cut side away from me and use a rolling pin to ‘squeeze’ the meat out.
Use the kitchen shears to separate both sides and remove the knuckles.
I know sometimes this kind of stuff is hard to visualize and if you can’t with just words then feel free to go on the internet and find a video to help you see it.
To COOK: save the lobster shells and body for soup. Detach the upper head from the body and reserve for plating.
Season all the lobster meat lightly with sea salt, crushed red pepper, coarse ground black pepper and some coffee grounds.
Have the mashed potatoes ready and kept hot.
Pour about 2 tablespoons of a flowery, light bodied olive oil in a pan over medium heat. When the oil shimmers add the biggest pieces of the lobster meat (the claws usually), then add the rest of the lobster meat. Reduce heat to low and add 2 teaspoons of butter. Flip the claws over and start pulling all the lobster meat out and pulling out the claws last. Add all the finely diced vegetables and the Meyer lemon juice and scrape all the stuck ends from the pan. Add 2 tablespoons of cold butter and swirl to emulsify the butter into a thick and shiny sauce. Add all of the lobster meat back in when half of the added butter is incorporated. Shut off the heat when the butter is mostly incorporated and keep swirling the pan. Add a little of the chopped parsley and taste for seasoning and salt & pepper to taste. Keep warm.
Put piping hot mashed potatoes just off center of a large dinner plate
Top with dressed greens.
‘rebuild’ the lobster meat on the plate around the mashed potatoes.
Sauce the lobster and some of the mashed potatoes all around.
Top the mashed potatoes that are just behind the lobster with the lobster head to create a dramatic presentation.
Enjoy the ethereal dish that you made. It was complicated, expensive but you can do it.
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