Lavish Lobster

23 Feb

In my neck of the world, lobster is a luxury. It becomes less so when the harvesting seasons roll around. Then, large grocery chains like Loblaws or Metro fly in fresh crustaceans at treat-yourself-prices. And if Valentine celebrants don’t fork out the inflated prices for flowers, chocolates and delicacies on the 14th of February we singles can swoop in a day or two later and scoop up the bargains. That’s how, about a week ago, I came to arrive home with a whole cooked lobster.

Lavish Lobster --- a Savvy Single Treat

Lavish Lobster — a Savvy Single Treat

Now, the very best way to enjoy lobster in my humble opinion is at a rough picnic table on the ocean shores of some Maritime province. You know . . .  sea air and sunshine drenching your face, local churchmen dropping live lobster into huge steaming vats and the church ladies handing out plastic bibs and paper napkins with your melted butter. If you’re really lucky, there will be yeasty, warm dinner rolls and homemade pie . . . make mine lemon merengue, s’il vous plait.

With that fantasy ripped from my mind’s eye by the stinging sleet of February in Ottawa, I wondered how to turn my VD-booby-prize into a divine dinner. Having recently enjoyed a smoked fish chowder, I didn’t want to go the seafood stew or lobster bisque (time-consuming, but delicious) route. In winter, sourcing the top-sliced hot dog buns considered ‘de rigueur’ for lobster rolls is also a major challenge. And I would have needed only two buns, not 6 or 8.

My other concern was how to reheat the lobster meat without the far too common problem of having the sweet, succulent flesh turn to rubber.  An internet search turned up an interesting, fuss-free solution I hadn’t tried before (see here).

On this particular Saturday night, I wanted a fast, easy but still delectable supper featuring my lobster. I created Lobster-Topped Basmati Pilaf with Balsamic Sautéed Sweet Peppers and Sugar Snap Peas. Don’t be put off by the length of the directions. This was a breeze to put together . . . a lavish feast in 30 minutes!

Lobster-Topped Basmati-Pilaf with Balsamic Sauteed Sweet Peppers & Sugar Snap Peas

Lobster-Topped Basmati-Pilaf with Balsamic sautéed Sweet Peppers & Sugar Snap Peas

The Pilaf

Basmati Rice, grated Carrots, Vegetable Broth, grated fresh ginger --- into the rice cooker

Basmati Rice, grated Carrots, Vegetable Broth, grated fresh ginger — into the rice cooker

Into a rice cooker, place:

  • 2/3 cup     Basmati rice, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups        low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1/3 cup       grated carrot
  • 1/2 tsp        grated ginger

My rice cooker took about 30 minutes from start to finish. Allow the rice to sit covered for about 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork before serving.

Re-heating the Lobster Meat

Reheat cooked whole lobster for 10 min at 350 F, in foil packet with 1 teaspoon each butter and water.

Reheat cooked whole lobster for 10 min at 350 F, in foil packet with 1 teaspoon each butter and water.

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Cut a piece of aluminum foil large enough to wrap and seal each lobster (I used 1 – 1 lb whole lobster). Add 1 teaspoon of butter and 1 teaspoon of water to the foil packet and seal the packet by tightly crimping together the foil ends. Set the foil-wrapped lobster on a cookie sheet and place it in the pre-heated oven. Remove after 5 – 10 (mine took 10) minutes and allow to cool slightly before handling.

Begin preparing —

Balsamic Sautéed Sweet Peppers and Sugar Snap Peas

Wash and trim the ends:

  • 1 cup                               sugar snap peas

Wash and thinly slice:

  • 6                                      mini, coloured sweet peppers (or equivalent required to obtain 1 cup of sliced peppers) a mix of red, orange and or yellow
Prepare the vegetables.

Prepare the vegetables.

Start by putting a small amount of water (approx 1/2 cup) into a medium, non-stick skillet. Heat the water and add the sugar snap peas, stirring and cooking until the peas turn a bright green (2 – 4 minutes). Drain the water and set snap peas aside.

Add 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil to same skillet and warm over medium heat. Add the pepper slices and saute for 3 – 5 minutes or until they begin to soften. Return sugar snap peas to the pan and saute for another 2 – 3 minutes.

If necessary, remove the vegetable skillet from the heat until the rice is cooked, the lobster re-heated and the flesh released from its shell. Then just before arranging your plate, return peppers and peas to a burner set on Med-High. Quickly saute the vegetables, just until heated through. Drizzle with a light splash of balsamic vinegar and continue cooking for 1 minute. (As you can see from the photo, I was originally planned to dress the vegetables with a splash of Teriyaki, but in the end chose the Balsamic vinegar.)

Revealing the Lobster Meat

Allow reheated cooked lobster to cool before ripping head from body

Allow reheated cooked lobster to cool before ripping head from body

When the lobster is cool enough to handle, grasp it with both hands and rip the head from the body. Twist off the claws/front legs where they connect with the body.

If you are like most folks, you discard the head and body of small lobsters, retaining the claws, legs and tail.

Cut, twist, peel and poke your way to the lobster meat.

Cut, twist, peel and poke your way to the lobster meat.

As I wasn’t interested in a whole tail or claw presentation, I used my butcher knife to cut the tail down the (spine) middle. Then pull away the shell and separate the tail flesh into 2 portions. Using the butcher knife, separate the legs at the joints and claws.

Luscious lobster liberated

Luscious lobster liberated

Use a kitchen skewer or thin sharp knife to poke out the flesh. I sliced through the claws at the pincers, pulled back the shell and extracted the sweet claw meat.

Melt butter in a ramekin in your microwave

Melt butter in a ramekin in your microwave

Place 2 tablespoons of butter in a small ramekin and melt on high in the microwave.

Assemble your Supper

Mound Basmati-Carrot-Ginger Pilaf on your plate. Top with chunks of lobster and pour melted butter over. Add the Sauteed Peppers and Snap Peas and serve.

A 30 minute Seafood Feast for a Savvy Single

A 30 minute Seafood Feast for a Savvy Single

Enjoy with a split of champagne or a glass of Porcupine Ridge Sauvignon Blanc 2011 from South Africa’s Western Cape.

Note: These ingredients made enough pilaf and sautéed veg for a second meal . . . so this recipe could easily work for ‘diner a deux’ with the addition of a 2nd lobster. I used the leftovers to create a skillet supper later in the week with cubes of ham, sweet potatoes and onions.

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