Lobster’s in the Air…..
On Valentines Day, I have recently started to prefer staying at home and cooking Stephan a nice dinner instead of battling the crowds in restaurants. I went all out this year, and made uber-fancy lobster risotto. Can we say decadent? I’ve had lobster risotto in restaurants many times, but since I was making this at home, it was more like lobster with a bit of risotto mixed in. In the end, I probably spent more moolah than had we just gone out, but it was totally and completely worth it! We also opened up a fabulous bottle of German Ice Wine that we’ve been holding onto for quite a while.
To be honest, this is the first time I’ve cooked lobster at home. The last time I did cook lobster was in culinary school. I had this chef instructor who insisted we kill the lobsters before boiling them. This really bothered me, and that is the main reason I’ve been lobster shy for the past 8 years! This time, I tried not to look the lobster in the eye, and simply placed them into the boiling water. Not sure if that is humane either, but its better than a knife through the noggin, right? :)
I made it just like I always make my risotto, but omitted the Parmesan cheese at the end. As usual, I like to eat with my eyes first, so I added a small handful of diced red and orange bell pepper more for color than flavor. I also painstakingly cracked the claws and kept the claw meat intact for garnishing. In addition, I made a lobster stock with the shells, but you can always use chicken stock. I ended up using half lobster stock and half chicken stock so the final product wouldn’t be overly lobstery (yes, that is a word!)
Lobster Risotto Recipe
2 small live lobsters (about 1 pound each)
3-4 tbsp salt
3 tbsp olive oil
1 large shallot, fine dice
2 tbsp red pepper, fine dice
2 tbsp orange pepper, fine dice
2 clove garlic, minced
1 c Arborio rice
1 c dry white wine
4-5 c chicken stock or lobster stock (recipe to follow)
2 tbsp butter (can be omitted)
2 tbsp fresh parsley chopped
1 tbsp butter
lobster claw meat (from above)
1. Bring three to four quarts of water to a boil in a large pot big enough to hold both lobsters. Add 1 tablespoon of salt per quart of water once its boiling. Gently place the lobsters, claws first into the boiling water and boil for about 10 minutes. When cooked, immediately place in a large bowl filled with ice water to stop the cooking process. Once cooled, remove the meat from the tail and claws. I used kitchen shears and a meat mallet for this. Be careful to keep the claws intact and separate, as they do make lovely garnish. Chop the tail meat into large bite size chunks and set aside.
2. Bring stock to a simmer. Heat olive oil in pan over medium high heat. I prefer to use a saute pan, but any pan will do. Sweat the shallots for a few minutes, add the diced peppers for another minute or two, and then add the garlic. Cook for one more minute, stirring constantly. Add the rice and stir to coat with the oil. Stir constantly for another minute, to lightly toast the rice. Reduce heat to medium.
3. Add wine and stir well, until evaporated, then add 1 cup of stock. Continue cooking over medium heat for about 20 minutes, stirring constantly, and adding 1/2 cup of stock at a time when all the liquid is absorbed. The risotto is cooked when it is very creamy and the grains of rice are tender. Add the chopped lobster (but not the claws) in the last minute or so of cooking, just to warm through.
4. Remove risotto from the heat and add the 2 tablespoons butter, chopped parsley and salt and pepper. Stir well to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
5. Heat the last tablespoon of butter in a small saute pan over medium high heat. Add the claws and saute until warmed through, about 2 minutes or so. Season with salt and pepper, then garnish each plate with the claws and serve immediately.
Makes 3-4 Servings
Note: This can be easily made with only one lobster, as they are quite pricey.
Note 2: I used half lobster stock and half chicken stock. You can use all lobster stock, all chicken stock, or a combination of both for the risotto.
Note 3: I also stirred in a few pieces of blanched asparagus at the end of cooking.
Lobster Stock Recipe
2 lobsters, shells only (discard the nasty stuff inside the body)
1 small onion, rough chop
1 carrot, rough chop
2 stalks celery, rough chop
2 stalks parsley
1 quart water
Bring all ingredients to a simmer over medium heat and simmer for 30-45 minutes. Do not let boil. Strain through a cheesecloth lined strainer and chill or use immediately.