Lobster is one of those foods that are too damn expensive. Where I live, a lobster is around $18.99 per pound, which is ridiculous for the amount of food you actually get from a single lobster! However, if you’re calculating cost based on how LONG it takes to eat and savor the food item, then lobster’s a pretty good deal. Sure, you can eat the tail in a few bites, but the real prize is in the tiny legs where the meat is the sweetest and most delicate.
In fact, I don’t even like the lobster tail – I’m all about working for my food and would rather trade you the tail for the legs and body. Even the claw doesn’t excite me – you can have that too!
You know I’m in heaven when I have to dissect, pick, suck, nibble and pinch for just the tiniest morsel of meat. A lobster of this size would probably take me an entire hour of labor to finish. Talk about savoring!
I was in Boston last month, and was lucky enough to dine with new friend and author, Debra Samuels. Deb co-authored the book The Korean Table (I highly recommend this book), my publicist, Grace Niwa and Holly and Rowan from my publisher, Tuttle Publishing.
Holly ordered Summer Shack’s most famous dish, the Pan Roasted Lobster, a dish which really deserves to be highlighted with spotlights and a red carpet. Because it’s that good. I don’t even remember what I ordered – Holly was sitting next to me and the moment this dish was gently laid down in front of her, I couldn’t help it.
The blogger in me came out, I turned to Holly, put my hand on her shoulder, leaned in and said, “I must. I can’t help it. I can’t control the urge. You understand, don’t you?”
She nodded. Of course she understood! Holly is the editor of my cookbook and we had been working closely together like bread and butter for 2 years now!
And so I stood up, picked up her plate of hot, oozing, creamy, savory lobster and whisked it away.
To a table with better light so I could photograph it.
THE SHAME!!! THE HORROR!!!!
I know. I hate taking photos at restaurants.
But when a dish like this Pan Roasted Lobster is this good – and I can score a recipe for you directly from this guy:
Chef Jasper White, winner several awards for Best Chef and author of I think you’ll understand.
Summer Shack’s Pan-Roasted Lobster with Chervil & Chives Recipe
recipe from Summer Shack Restaurant – Chef Jasper White (c) Scribner.
The bourbon in this recipe adds a sweetness that mingles potently with the sweetness of the lobster. An excellent Cognac or brandy can be substituted for similar results. Fresh chervil imparts a hint of anise flavor to the lobster; if unavailable, fresh parsley mixed with a small amount of fresh tarragon (1/2 teaspoon) will give a taste almost as good.
Equipment: You will need a medium Chinese cleaver or large chef’s knife, a heavy oven-proof 12-inch sauté pan and tongs.
2 live 1 ¾ pound hard-shell lobsters
2 tablespoons peanut oil
2 shallots (1 ½ ounces), finely diced
¼ cup bourbon or cognac
2 or 3 tablespoons dry white wine
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and chilled
1 tablespoon finely chopped chervil
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives
kosher or sea salt
freshly ground pepper
1. Preheat the broiler or preheat the oven as hot as possible (500 or 550F). Position the oven rack in the upper third of the oven. You may need to shorten the cooking time slightly if the broiler rack is close to the heat.
2. Split the lobster lengthwise (it will kill the lobster instantly). Remove the tomalley and the roe if present. Now cut off the claw with the knuckle attached (where the knuckle meets the carapace). Cut the lobster halves into quarters. You will now have 6 pieces of lobster. Place the pieces of lobster, shell side down, on a plate.
3. Place the tomalley and roe in a small bowl. With a fork, break them into small pieces.
4. Place a heavy 12-inch sauté pan over the highest heat possible. Allow the pan to heat for 3 to 5 minutes until it becomes extremely hot. Add the oil and heat until it forms a film on the surface of the pan. Slide the lobster pieces, shell side down, into the hot oil. Using tongs, move the pieces in order to evenly sear all the shells. Because the lobster pieces are not flat, you will need to hold them with the tongs and press the shells into the hot oil to accomplish this. The claws need to be seared on only one side. When the shells have all turned bright red, which should take no more than 2 minutes, turn the pieces over. The oil will also have taken on a beautiful red tinge. Add the tomalley and roe to the pan.
5. Place the pan in the oven. If using the broiler, cook for 2 minutes. If using the oven, cook for 3 minutes. The shells should be slightly browned, even a bit charred in places.
6. Remove the pan from the oven and return it to the stove at maximum heat. Turn off the oven and put your plates in to warm. This will take only a minute. Warning: The handle of the pan will be red-hot and will stay hot until the dish is complete. To avoid burns, wear oven mitts from now until the dish is complete.
7. Add the shallots to the fat in the pan and stir. Add the bourbon and ignite. Shake the pan until the flames die down. Add the wine and let liquid in the pan reduce until the pan is almost dry. Turn the heat to low.
8. Quickly remove the pieces of lobster and place, shell side down, on warm plates. I like to “reconstruct” the lobster so that it looks similar to a split lobster. Arrange the claws so that they lean into the center of the lobster.
9. Return the pan to the heat and add the butter, chervil and chives. Swirl or stir the butter in the pan to create a creamy sauce with the pan juices. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Use very little salt, if any, because the lobster adds its own salt. Spoon the sauce over the lobster pieces (see photograph insert following page 50) and serve at once.
Serves 2 as a generous main course or 4 as a light meal or first course