Lobster Stew

This is for “prepared” lobster stew. Typically much quicker and easier than “live” lobster stew, which would include the tomalley (aka: liver, a soft green substance found in the body cavity of the lobster, which has had go/no-go toxicity warnings from the FDA due to ocean pollutants in Maine over the years) and coral (aka: roe).

Hardware

  • 2 Large Pots
  • Sieve/Strainer
  • A sharp knife 🙂

Ingredients

  • 2 large raw frozen lobster tails4
    • Use whole, fresh lobster if you have the time/money. The tomalley and coral (liver and roe, respectively) add a lot of umami to the stock. See warning above, though.
    • Workaround for the tomalley/roe: if you have access to uni (sea urchin), a couple of those would be awesome.

Stock

  • 6 T (3/4 stick) sweet, unsalted pasture butter
  • 1 C (236ml) chopped yellow onion
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 4 C (946ml) whole milk
  • 2 C (473ml) heavy cream
  • 1 C (236ml) dry white wine (Rec: Coppola, Hahn, or La Crema Chardonnay)

Soup

  • 1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 lbs applewood bacon1, large-diced
  • 2 C (473ml) diced unpeeled2 Yukon gold potatoes (2 med/lg potatos)
  • 1 ½ C (354ml) diced yellow onions (2 sm/med onions)
  • 1 tsp celery powder
  • 1 T kosher salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground 3-pepper medley
  • 1 T diced fresh chives
  • 1/4 C (59ml) cream sherry wine
  • 2 lobster tails

Directions

Prep the lobster

  1. Thaw lobster and reserve any water runoff.
  2. Steam the lobster (this can be done in a covered container in the microwave) in its own thawed water and remove the meat from the shells of the lobsters. Let it rest for a few minutes, the meat will be hot.
  3. Cut the meat into cubes and place them in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate.
  4. Reserve the shells and all the juices that collect.

Stock

  1. Melt the butter in a stockpot large enough to hold all the lobster shells.
  2. Add the onion and cook over medium-low heat for 7 minutes, until translucent but not browned, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add the sherry and paprika and cook for 1 minute.
  4. Add the milk, cream, wine, lobster shells and their juices, and bring to a simmer. Partially cover the pot and simmer the stock over the lowest heat for 30 minutes.

Soup

  1. In another stockpot, heat the oil and cook the bacon for 4 to 5 minutes over medium-low heat, until browned and crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and reserve.
  2. Add the potatoes, onions, celery powder, salt, and pepper to the same pot and saute for 5 minutes.
  3. When the stock is ready, remove the largest pieces of lobster shell and and discard.
  4. Place a strainer over the soup pot and carefully pour the stock into the pot with the potatoes.
  5. Simmer over low heat for 15 minutes, until the potatoes are tender.
  6. Add the cooked lobster, chives and sherry Adjust with salt more or less to taste. Allow to incorporate and serve hot with a garnish of crisp bacon3.

Footnotes

  1. If you want to do this vegetarian, substitute the bacon with a pinch of crushed cumin and sauté until fragrant. It will add a little bit of that smokey flavor that the bacon would have.
  2. You can peel some of the potatoes and roast/toast the skins with salted-peppered butter and use as a garnish in place of the bacon.
  3. Something different – buy some toasted sesame sticks (every supermarket has their own house version) and partially crush them up in a mortar. Toss with some shredded Robusto (hard aged smoked gouda) cheese and use that as a topping/garnish. This gets you surprisingly close to the umami of bacon with even more complexity.
  4. You can substitute or augment the amount of meat by using langoustine, it’s usually pre-cooked and cut up at about half the price, and tastes nearly the same—likewise for monkfish.

Background

  • This recipe came together after consulting the experts: an old couple who spent their life near the Maine shore and for whom lobster wasn’t a “fancy night out”, it was just a weekly staple. Of course I’ve taken some (or a lot) creative liberty with it.
  • I also do a version in ramekins with a poached egg on top. A play on Oeufs en Cocotte. 5/5 would bang again, vigorously.

[For: The Albano Family]

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