PAN ROASTED LOBSTER WITH CHIVE BUTTER SAUCE & BROILED MUSHROOMS
From: The Ethical Gourmet by Jay Weinstein
This dish, a variation on a signature dish of Boston chef Jasper White, has become central to the repertoire of every chef who's worked in White's kitchen. It extracts every iota of flavor from the lobster, drawing essential oils from the shell and briny drippings from the body into a sensuous, herb-laced butter sauce that's spooned over the tender, open-shelled lobster. It's such an opulent dish, and so easy to divide, I often serve half-lobsters as a first course for four guests, so that two lobsters bring pleasure to twice as many guests.
Serves 4 As A First Course, 2 As A Main Course
• 6 large shiitake mushrooms, stems removed
• 1 teaspoon olive oil
• 2 large lobsters (1½ to 2 pounds apiece)
• 2 tablespoons Clarified Butter or peanut oil
• 1/4 cup cognac or bourbon
• 1/4 cup white wine
• 2 tablespoons chopped shallots
• 4 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter
• 2 teaspoons chopped fresh chives
• 1 teaspoon chopped fresh tarragon or flat-leaf parsley
Heat the broiler as hot as possible. Toss the mushrooms with olive oil and a pinch of salt; transfer to a shallow pan. Broil until darkly browned, turning once. Set aside in a warm place. Leave the broiler on for the lobster.
Bring a large pot (5 quarts) of salted water to a boil. Twist off the claws and arms of the lobsters and boil them for 3 minutes. Remove the meat from the claws and arms, using either poultry shears or a nutcracker. Set the meat aside. Chop off the forward 2 inches of the lobster (the head) and discard. Shake out any viscera, including tomalley and roe, and discard. Halve the lobster body lengthwise, with a long chef's knife or cleaver, by cutting first through the tail, and then through the upper body. Remove the dark intestinal tract from the tail. Halve the pieces crosswise, so that each lobster is quartered.
Heat the clarified butter in a large ovenproof skillet until very hot. Place the lobster bodies, shell side down, in the pan. Sear 2 minutes. Turn the pieces over, using tongs, and place the pan under the broiler. Cook 2 minutes, until parts of the shell begin to blacken. Bring the pan back to the stove, carefully add the cognac (away from the flame), and ignite it. Put the pan back over high heat.
Once the flames have subsided, add the reserved claw and arm meat, wine, and shallots. Cook until the alcohol is absorbed, and the mixture is only slightly moist. Remove the pan from the heat and add the butter, chives, and tarragon. Swirl the pan as the butter melts to create an emulsified sauce. If the pan is too hot, the butter will separate, so keep agitating the pan until the sauce is smooth.
Reassemble the lobsters on serving plates, in an order that resembles the natural lobster shape, spooning the claw and arm meat into the cavity in the upper body. Serve with the roasted mushrooms.