Monday, October 31, 2011

Lobster with Seaweed

Sous Vide Details: Cook Lobster at 143F for 45 minutes

Ingredients, Serves 2:
  • 2 lb fresh main lobster
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 oz seaweed salad (can be purchased at an asian market)
  • Lobster sauce:
    • 1/2 cup diced shallots
    • 1/4 cup heavy cream
    • 1 1/2 cup white wine
    • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
    • 1 stick cold unsalted butter
On those rare occasions when I indulge my craving for lobster (actually I crave lobster a lot!  Just don't cook it that often), I have found that sous vide lobster is the absolute BEST way to cook it consistently where it comes out tender and juicy every time.  Also, when you de-shell the beast before serving, it makes for a much more pleasant eating experience for my wife, so that's a big plus too!

So start out by bringing a large pot of water and the white vinegar to a brisk boil.  Add the lobster and cook for only 2 minutes.  All you are doing is making it easier to de-shell the lobster.  Take the lobster out and place it in an ice water bath to quickly cool it.

Now the hard part, de-shell the critter and extract all the lobster meat.  Remember, don't throw out the shell pieces!  Put all the shell pieces in a large pot to make the lobster sauce.  I de-shell using the following method:
  1. Break off the tail at the base of the lobster body with a sideways twisting motion.  Remove all the entrails out of the tail if there are any.
  2. Using kitchen shears, snip straight down the middle of the bottom of the tail from the base to the end, cutting through only the exoskeleton.  Pry open the tail and remove the tail meat through the slit you just cut.
  3. Snap off each claw at the base joint connected to the body, then snap off the main claws from the arm pieces.  Using either the back of a heavy knife or some lobster crackers, crack the base of each claw all the way to the joint of the pinchers.  Break open the claw enough to be able to get the claw meat out.  Carefully pry the smaller pincher free from the joint and slowly remove the claw meat with the smaller claw intact.  Then carefully remove the smaller pincher shell and internal membrane leaving the claw meat intact.
  4. Crack each arm in several places and then use the kitchen shears to cut the shell from one end to the other.  Break open the arms to expose the meat and remove.
  5. Now here's the fun part.  Break off each of the crawler legs (yes, you can get meat out of those little arms easily!).  Using a rolling pin, start at the claw end of each leg and apply pressure and roll up towards the body joint end.  The meat should extrude out of the top!  Voila, more lobster meat!  Do this for each leg.
  6. Put all the shell pieces (including the head) into a large pot to make the sauce.
Salt and pepper the lobster meat to taste and place into a bag along with the butter and seal.  Pre-heat the water bath to 143F and place the bag in. Cook for 45 minutes.

To make the sauce, add 1/2 cup of water or food stock to the pan with all the lobster parts.  Heat on medium high heat until it starts to steam, approximately 3-5 minutes.  Stir to get all the flavor out of the shells.  Take the pan and strain all the pieces from the liquid.  Clean the pan and return the liquid to the pan.  Heat on medium heat and add the shallots and cook until translucent, about 3 minutes.  Add the white wine and cook on medium low heat until reduced in half.  Strain the sauce into another pan and add the tomato paste and cook on medium heat for 2 minutes.  Add the heavy cream and bring the sauce just to a slow boil.  Once reached, reduce to a simmer.  Add the cold butter one tablespoon at a time, whisking each tablespoon into the sauce.  In the end, the sauce should be rich and thick.  This is called mounting the sauce.

When the lobster is done, take it out of the water bath and bag.  You can plate the lobster on top of the sauce or you can drizzle the sauce on top of the lobster.  Add the seaweed and  you have a fantastic meal ready to go!


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