This is a picture of Mr. 2.5-Pound-Lobster. My roommate and I decided to cook dinner for a few friends and settled on something quite elaborate. The exact recipe can be found in Chez Jacques: Traditions and Rituals of a Cook. This is easily the most complicated recipe we have ever attempted. The recipe calls for 3 1.5-1.75 pound lobsters. Unfortunately, the Asian-Mart which we went to only had lobsters which were either too big or too small. We settled on one 2.5 pounder and two 1.25 pounders.
The first step was to steam the lobsters in order to remove the flesh. Start the lobster in a COLD pot and pour in 4 cups of water,and turn the heat to high. Ignore their cries of pain as they die a slow (but pleasant!) death. (George feels that this would be a better way to die whereas I would rather be plunged headfirst into boiling water. Maybe this will be the next poll).
Once the water starts boiling, wait one minute and then turn the heat off. You want the flesh to be barely cooked. Save the lobstery cooking liquid. We definitely overcooked the lobster so the next time we employ this technique, adjustments will be made.
Now it's time to savage the lobsters. Tear off both claws and the tail, leave the carapace/body intact. Be sure to save all the liquid that runs out of the shell...there will probably be quite a bit.
Ok, remove the meat from the tail and claws, hopefully in as few pieces as possible...you're looking for easily identifiable pieces of lobster. We actually had to resort to using a hammer for the 2.5 pounder because tearing into his shell was like trying to tear a car door in half. After 30 minutes of work we finally managed to extract all the delicious meat. It was a challenge not to halt the recipe at this point and just devour the unadorned lobster meat.
Once you get all the meat out, divide it into 6 portions, put it into a shallow pan, and pour 1 1/2 cups of melted butter over it and cover with saran wrap. This then goes into a 150 degree oven until you are ready to assemble the dish. We had some problems maintaining our oven at such a low temperature and our lobster was a little bit over cooked. Next time, we will make adjustments.
Now we will use the lobster bodies to make the bisque. Take a big knife and cut the bodies into 4 pieces each. Here is a picture of the carnage:
Heat up a tablespoon of olive oil in a pan, and toss in the cut up shells. Brown them for about 15 minutes. If things look like they're starting to burn, take the pan off the heat for 30 seconds.
Meanwhile, chop a cup each of onions, celery, and leeks.
Toss them in with the lobster carcasses, along with a sprig of fresh tarragon, 4-5 cloves of crushed garlic, 1/2 a cup of white wine, 1 cup of tomato juice, a pinch of herbes de provence, salt and pepper, and all but 2 cups of the lobster cooking liquid which you saved from earlier. Cook it for about 40 minutes. This will smell insanely delicious.
After 40 minutes, strain the liquid out, trying to get every last drop. Throw out the shells. To the liquid, add 1/2 a cup of cream, some brandy or cognac, and season to taste. We loooove lobster bisque!
Next, we need to make the herb sauce.
Start by reducing down those last 2 cups of lobster liquid to 1 cup.
Make a slurry from 1 tablespoon water and 1 teaspoon of potato starch, and add this to thicken the reduced lobster liquid. Now, remember the 1 1/2 cups of lobster butter you have sitting in the oven at 150? Pour all of it into this sauce, and whisk it up. Finally, add some chopped parsley, chives,and tarragon. Here's a final picture.
All we need now is the potatoes and corn. Fresh roasted corn would be nice, but so would a (insert dirty sexual act) from (insert hot female celebrity). We had frozen corn in the fridge, so that's what went in.
You also need to peel about a pound of fingerling potatoes. This is the worst part of the entire recipe. Here is a picture of me suffering:
Boil these skinned potatoes in salted water for about 15 minutes, and cook the corn over high heat with some oil.
mmmm boiled potatoes...these are seasoned with salt, pepper and olive oil.
NOW we are ready to assemble the final dish.
Make sure your plates are HOT. This dish is a travesty if served cold which is what happened to us. Maybe if George wasn't lollygagging around town then we could've attended to these details, yes? YES????
Start with the corn, put one portion of lobster on top, spoon some sauce over the top, and put the potatoes around that.
Put the bisque into a small bowl or ramekin, and place it on the plate next to the meat. Garnish with chives, parsley, jujube fruit, whatever.
BTW if you find that any of these pictures are unsatisfying, blame this guy:
Time- Four hours of vigorous, unorganized work. Attempt this recipe only under two conditions:
1. You're trying to get laid.
2. You're insane.
Total per plate- $11.52