Friday, February 20, 2015

FFWD - Vanilla-Butter-Braised Lobster


                                                   Phoebe Buffet, Friends
For French Fridays with Dorie this week, we are back on our extended trip to the seaside.  However, today we are trying something very different - Vanilla-Butter-Braised Lobster. 
I had never previously tasted, let alone cooked, lobster, and I was kind of like a rabbit in the headlights for a while.  This was compounded by the fact that Dorie's unabridged recipe involved using 4 live lobsters and 700g of butter!  I didn't even know where to buy live lobster.
Once I had time to take a step back, my plan of action was clear.  I would go to the fishmonger in a posh neighbourhood, where they were more likely to stock lobster, and I would ask for frozen lobster (ie one that someone else had conveniently dispatched for me).
In this vein, I ventured off to the balmy climes of Hawksburn Village, where indeed I was able to acquire frozen lobster.  However, frozen lobster tends to mean just the lobster tail.  I was fine with that, especially as the cheapest said lobster tail (singular) cost $25.95!
The lobster tail went into the freezer until Valentines Day, when I invited Tim to dinner to share in my rather pricey lobster entree.
I scaled down the clarified butter to 125g (as a guess), and prepped butter and lobster before Tim came over.
To prepare the lobster for braising, you have to dunk it in boiling water for a few minutes.  It goes from this:    

to this:

Inside, once the shell is peeled away, you get very pretty red meat:

The lobster had its revenge somewhat, as its shell is remarkably spiny, so I had to take care in removing it.  However, the shell thankfully yielded up the meat very easily, even if it did prick my fingers.

Once you have your prepped lobster meat and vanilla flavoured clarified butter (yep, you read correctly) ready, it is a very simple matter to braise the meat in the butter.  I halved the lobster tail for an entree sized serving.

I served the lobster meat on a bed of lemon steamed spinach, as suggested by Dorie.  I was pleasantly surprised by this dish - the vanilla flavour was quite subtle (Tim couldn't detect it at all),  and the overall dish was very tasty.  However, with the price of lobster, I won't be serving it too often!

To see what the other Doristas thought of this dish, visit the LYL section of the FFWD website.

If you are a fan of fashion, do check out my travel blog post on the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibition which was recently hosted by the National Gallery of Victoria.


Pam said...

Looks and sounds delicious! Lobster definitely is very pricy here and not always available.

Kayte said...

Wow, this looks absolutely luscious and delicious...your plating of it is beautiful. Fun that you got to cook and eat something new for a special occasion. Love lobster...a definite treat. :-)

Merryn said...

This looks amazing. Who would ever have thought to put vanilla infused butter with lobster. Well done for tackling the spiny creature. We can buy fresh green lobster tails here at Christmas time @ approx $20 each so they are definitely a treat. Lemon spinach sounds delightful too, a lovely pairing :)

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

I remember reading about your Valentines Day dessert and wondering what your main was. This was it! Perfect for V Day. I find vanilla sauces best when the vanilla is quite subtle :)

Liz That Skinny Chick Can Bake said...

Congratulations on your first successful lobster dish! So glad you both enjoyed. I was a little nervous about Bill's reaction to the vanilla, but he loved my shrimp version :)

Mardi Michels said...

Tails were definitely the way to go! Nice one and congrats on your first lobster!

KB from Prof Who Cooks said...

Looks great! What a bummer the tails cost so much, but it sounds like you and I were in a similar starting boat: I had only made lobster once and that was approximately 3 weeks before this dish came up. I also had no real desire to kill a lobster (shudder). Glad you all liked it! I think the subtlety of the vanilla was what made the dish nice!

Jora said...

I'm glad you enjoyed this one. What a fun Valentine's Day treat! I used shrimp instead. I'm a bit afraid of lobster.

Diane Balch said...

Glad this was a hit for you and that the frozen tasted good.

Betsy said...

What a treat for you to try something new! When you visit the East Coast this spring, you will have to try a whole lobster. Hope you had a happy Valentine's Day!

Nana said...

Lovely, I served mine with the spinach also. Dealing
with those shells can be a pain, they are very sharp

tricia s. said...

Plan of action - "fishmonger in a posh neighborhood". Priceless !!! (pun intended :) You seriously had me smiling at this brilliant and truthful game plan. I also was with you on not wanting to "dispatch" the life out of the little guy myself. Considering how often I combine vanilla with butter this still ended up an utter surprise to me because adding lobster to the mix had me baffled. But yummy indeed. Great post ~

Andrea_TheKitchenLioness said...

Dear Gaye, what a wonderful presentation - that spinach was really good - although I did serve it with prawns instead of the lobster.
Hope you are having a wonderful weekend,

Diane Zwang said...

Wonderful post on showing us what you did. Glad you were able to find a lobster tail as they were much easier to handle. Have a great week.

Mary Hirsch said...

Thanks for taking photos of the three stages of a Lobster Tail. I found that very interesting although I have seen it a number of time. It was more fun to share it with someone, wasn't it? I can't imagine my just making it by myself - not lobster, not at the price of lobster. The butter suggestion was a little over the top for me also. Very nice Post. Glad you enjoyed the experience.

Cher Rockwell said...

I couldn't dispatch the lobster - I let the grocer do it.
I enjoyed your sourcing adventure this week - glad you enjoyed!

Anonymous said...

I loved this dish, but agree that the price tag makes it a VERY special occasion kind of dish.