Whenever I eat lobster, I order it steamed, throw on a bib, roll up my sleeves, and dig in. It was a beautiful day Wednesday and I had the day off so I decided to walk down to Yankee Lobster and pick up a few monsters. I had the whole day to work with, so I wanted to experiment with a couple different preparations.
Yankee Lobster is located right on the dock and has the freshest seafood imaginable. I literally walked right into the back door and pulled two 3lb. bugs out of the water and brought them back to the condo.
There are many different ways to kill a lobster and some people think that certain ways are more humane than others. You can throw them right into a pot of boiling water, put them in the freezer first, or just take your chef's knife to its head. Because I wanted to cook the tail separately from the claws, I had an interesting afternoon to say the least.
I was forced to rip the lobsters in half with my bare hands while they were still alive in order to separate the tail from the rest of the body. This wouldn't have been so bad if both separated parts stopped moving but the tail was jumping and curling around my wrist for up to half an hour afterwards.
It was like a scene from a creepy alien movie. The nerves inside the tail and the body were on the fritz, which made it extremely difficult to remove the shell, but after some wrestling around, I managed to yield a perfectly intact, raw lobster tail.
I simply boiled the claws and removed the meat for my chilled lobster salad. Every remaining part, including the head was then thrown into a giant pot of water with onion, celery, parsley, peppercorns, lemons, and bay leaf to boil away for lobster stock.
I rolled the lobster tails in paper thin slices of Prosciutto di San Daniele…gourmet pigs in a blanket.
I gently seared one side, while I basted the rest of the tail in clarified butter until it was cooked throughout.
This was a tedious process but well worth it because the lobster meat was not overcooked. After it rested, I sliced it thin and served it atop a silky smooth puree of turnips laced with fresh vanilla bean. The combination of the luscious tail meat and salty Prosciutto, with the creamy and sweet turnip puree was heavenly.
The underlying flavor of fresh vanilla bean brought the dish to a whole new level.
On the right side of the plate, I made a cold lobster claw meat salad with fresh fava beans, tangerine supremes, and mache lettuce rosettes. To lighten it up in contrast to its partner to the left, I opted to leave the mayonnaise out of the salad.
Instead I tossed it with lemon juice and a heaping tablespoon of Dijon mustard. The balance between light and cold and rich and warm on the same plate was really cool and it displayed the versatility of the sea creature. It felt great to use essentially every part of the lobster for something. After 8 hours on the stovetop, the lobster stock made roughly three quarts to use at a later date.
The wine pairing for this dish was tough due to the clashing styles, but I ended up opening the 2008 Le Paradou Viognier. It was forwardly aromatic right from the start. Tons of orange peel, flowers, and exotic herbs on the nose. The wine is actually a lot bigger in style from what I anticipated and had a slightly creamy finish to it, which paired well with the Prosciutto wrapped tail. The wine had great acidity, and flavors of peach pit and tangerine zest.
In my opinion, the wine worked better with the cold salad stylistically but was still pleasant to drink with the warm dish. Viognier in general is a great white wine for Spring, whether it's served with food or drank on its own. If you want to re-create this meal at home, trust me…. don't get too attached to the lobsters before you start.