So yesterday was Dave's birthday. Of course, I asked him what he wanted me to cook for him... and he said he had Lobster Thermador once in Africa, and really enjoyed it. Well... I've never had it before, nevermind cooked it.. but I LOVE lobster and was more than willing to give it a try. Besides, there is an awesome lobster company in Cocoa Beach that sells whole Maine lobster for dead cheap, and I'd been waiting for an excuse to try them out! (Maine'ly Lobster 321-799-4700)
So I picked up a 3 lb beastie on my way home from work and set to work.
He wasn't particularly pleased at his situation.. and let it be known by thrashing around and pinning his legs over the pot just as I was trying to drop him in. Do lobsters hiss? I swear he was hissing at me! (and no I dont mean the "whistle" of steam... he wasnt in the water yet at that point) My sister called at this very moment asking for details on a cream sauce... Carrie, if you read this... the photo above was when I was screaming in the background while Dave was trying to relay my instructions for said cream sauce. Note to self... it is easier said than done to dispatch a giant live lobster into boiling water while dictating a recipe for caper cream sauce to your sister over a speaker phone.
In the end the lobster ended up in the pot and out again, ready to be prepped. This was also new to me, as in my world the lobster is done at this point and all thats needed is drawn butter. It took a LOT of will power to restrain myself from eating one of those whole succulent claws. As luck would have it, however, Dave doesnt like lobster tamale... and OMG do I ever. Its like... little drops of lobster heaven... and this one had a LOT. Finger lickin good.
So that helped curb my desire to eat all the other tastey bits.
Another note to self.... cracking a lobster (especially the claws) with a chef's knife isn't as easy as the pro chefs on TV make it look. I ended up resorting to a meat pounder to crack the claws, while simultaneously flinging lobster bits all over the kitchen (and Dave, who was innocently watching).
I will say the hardest part of the recipe was simply splitting the shell for presentation. And the little bit of induced trauma from a feisty lobster who decided to pull the "cat not going in the carrier" move on me.
A simple bechamel went over the diced meat, made from tarragon, dijon and Romano.
I do think I still prefer lobster simply steamed and eaten straight from the shell. But it did look impressive and regal on the plate. :)
And here I give you... the aftermess.
- 1 whole lobster, about 2 to 2 1/2 pounds
- 2 lemons, halved
- 1 onion, quartered
- 1 bouquet garni
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 tablespoons minced shallots
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 2 cups milk
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh tarragon
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped parsley
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Bring a pot of salted water containing the lemons, quartered onion and bouquet garni to a boil. Add the lobster to the boiling water and cook for 8 to 12 minutes. Remove the lobster from the water and place in a bowl of ice water. This will stop the cooking process of the lobster. In a sauce pan, melt the butter. Stir in the flour and cook for 2 to 3 minutes for a blond roux. Add the shallots and cook for 30 seconds. Stir in the wine and milk. Bring the liquid up to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook for about 3 to 4 minutes or until the sauce coats the back of a spoon. This sauce will be thicker than a normal Béchamel because it will be used as a filling. Season the sauce with salt and pepper. Remove the sauce from the stove and stir in the mustard and tarragon. Remove the lobster from the water and split the lobster in half. Remove the tail meat from the shells and with the back of a knife, gently crack the claws. Dice the tail meat and fold in the Béchamel sauce. Stir in 1/2 cup of the cheese and reseason if necessary.
Divide the mixture and spoon into the two lobster tail shells. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top of the lobster. Place the filled lobster on a baking sheet and place in the oven. Bake for about 8 to 10 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
Garnish with parsley.
-Ganked & modified From Emeril's