The Christmas season continues and hope you are all enjoying the mulled wines, hot sausages, ginger breads and all other things you can find at the Christmas market!
As I mentioned in my previous post, I am currently sharing my recipes from last year’s Christmas. The previous one was a traditional venison roast, and today is for those who are more into what the sea has to offer. It is a very traditional lobster recipe, called either lobster Armoricaine, or lobster Americaine. I suppose one is a deformation of the other, but not sure which name was there first.
I love lobster, and when I was living in Boston, I was so glad I could get some at the restaurant for the same price as a good fish fillet. But back in France it is another story so we decided to cook our own lobster at home…and we soon realised this is not for the faint-hearted! We had to boil the lobsters alive for the recipe and the sound of the steam passing through the shell made it sound like they were screaming for help. Terrible! Also, every time I opened the lid to see if the lobsters were cooked, I was afraid they would jump out of the water, trying to escape. If you want to avoid this part, you can buy you lobsters already cooked and frozen, but we tried it and the taste is really not the same.
8 medium lobsters, alive – 1 liquor glass of Cognac – 15 cl white wine – 2 shallots – 2 onions – 1 tomato, diced – 4 tbsp olive oil – 100 g butter – 2 tbsp tomato paste – a few leave of tarragon – a bunch of parsley – Cayenne pepper
1. Buy 8 fresh lobsters from your fishmonger. Wrap them in clean towels and leave them in the fridge for a few hours before boiling them. This will put them in an hibernating state and I easier to boil (hopefully this also makes their death less painful..). Put the lobster head first in boiling water, leave for 1 minute. As you can see I got my dad to do it, I could not bring myself to do it…
2. Remove the claws and knuckles, separate them, and crack them with the mallet. Twist tails from the bodies. Remove the lobster meat from the claws, knuckles and tail pieces, and set aside. Rinse the bodies under cool water and set aside. Keep any juice from the head on the side, and mince it thinly, we can use it for the sauce.
3. Add the olive oil and 2 tablespoons butter to a deep pan, then add the lobster tails and knuckles and stir for 2-3 minutes. Add the thinly sliced shallots and onion, garlic and cayenne pepper. Pour in the wine. Add the tomato paste and fresh tomato cubes, then the whole sprigs of parsley and tarragon. Bring to a boil, then cover and let it cook for 20 minutes on low fire.
4. Take out the pieces of lobster meat from the sauce. Cover them to keep them warm (or place in an oven preheated to 50 C). Then mix the juices from the lobster head to the butter to form a sort of paste. Add this mix in the sauce, add salt and pepper to taste, and let the sauce reduce another 10 minutes. Finally add in the cognac and flambe the sauce. Again, dad doing the dangerous stuff here! And you can see from he picture how much the sauce has reduced.
Serve the lobster covered in sauce, with a side of basmati rice.