This post was not what I originally planned, in which I review a visit to an upscale restaurant in my area. I had my pictures ready, notes laid out, and fingers ready to type. But I wanted to check Facebook first just to see what was going on in my friends’ lives.
Then I saw it. My favorite seafood market (the only one as far as I’m concerned) was going to have a huge live Main lobster sale. I couldn’t believe it when I read “for just a little over $6 a lobster”…not a pound…but a lobster. Now living in Texas this just doesn’t happen. With our summer heat being in triple digits of late, I don’t know of any of my friends thinking about cold water lobster. We are thinking about how to stay out of the heat and keeping our gardens alive. My brain went into overload wondering how I could get my hands on these beauties before everyone else. Then I read that for Facebook fans the sale was one day early. I quickly put on my shoes, patted the dog on the head, and out the door I went.
This is a recipe I adapted from Billie Bourque, Bank Street Lobster House. It may sound daunting but all you need is time and patience. What I did was steam 4 for dinner (I bought 12), 4 for the bisque, and the other 4 I cooked and froze in brine for another day. I also put the shells in the freezer. Don’t throw them away. The shells make lovely stock. This way I really only had one full day of cooking. For the bisque it will take about 3 hours of cooking time. But if you plan it right, you can make the bisque up to the point of putting in the cream and then within a few days finish it off.
Even on a scorching day this bisque was what my heart longed for and it didn’t matter that I was eating something hot on an even hotter day.
Adapted from Billie Bourque, Bank Street Lobster House
This will serve 10-12 large servings
(4) 1 to 1 ¼ lb lobsters
9 oz Plus 6 oz. of tomato paste
2/3 cups chopped onion
2/3 cups chopped celery
2/3 cups of carrots
1 spring thyme
2 teas. Of chopped Italian parsley
2 cloves of garlic
¼ teaspoon saffron
5 cups heavy cream
1 cup cream sherry
1 ½ ground black pepper
1.5 oz. cornstarch
Add ¾ of a 16 quart steamer pot with water. Place over high heat. When you see that the pot of water will soon boil put your live lobsters in the freezer. Leave the lobsters in for 10 minutes to put them to sleep. With water boiling plunge lobsters head first into the water. Watch for the water to come back to a boil and lower the heat. Simmer the lobsters for 15-20 minutes when your lobster turns a vivid red color. When done take your lobsters out of the pot and plunge into ice water. This will stop the cooking process and also make it easier for you to get the meat out. Do not throw out your water as this will be used to make your stock and to help in the process of the softening of vegetables to flavor your stock.
Now get cracking and get your meat out of the lobster. Save those shells as they will also go into your stock. Take 9 cups of the lobster water and put in a large pot (Save the rest of lobster water. You will need it later). Turn the heat on medium. Cut the bodies to fit in the pot and add all your shells to the stock water. Add 9 ounces of the tomato paste. Turn the heat down to simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours until you reduce your stock to about 7 cups of liquid. Don’t stir and don’t have the heat on high or else you will muddy your stock and possibly burn your shells. Pour contents through a strainer into another large pot.
Now put 4 cups of lobster water that you saved along with onions, celery, thyme, parsley, garlic and saffron in a 4 quart pot. Place pot on med. high heat and boil until the vegetables are softened, about 20 minutes. Stir frequently. Add the 6 oz. of tomato paste and black pepper. Turn down the heat, stirring frequently, and cook until the ingredients are the consistency of mush. Take off heat and press ingredients through a strainer, scraping off the lovely paste from the other side of strainer into the stock.
Place the stock on medium heat and whisk in heavy cream and sherry. Mix cornstarch with water and slowly whisk into the stock. Simmer on low heat for 15 – 20 minutes. Add your lobster pieces for family style after 15 minutes or wait and place your lobster pieces in bowls to await your stock.
Pour into bowls and sprinkle chopped parsley on top.