Lobster à l’américaine

This dish used to strike me as a lot of work. Now it seems relatively straight-forward: familiarity, I imagine, explains this. As a bonus, the leftover shells can be used to make a delicious lobster stock. This stock is the basis of the next recipe, Lobster Risotto.

Makes 6 servings

One 2- to 21/2-pound lobster or three 1-pound lobsters

51/2 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium carrot

1 medium onion

1/3 cup Cognac

11/2 cup lobster stock, fish stock or chicken stock

1 cup dry white wine or dry vermouth

11/2 cups peeled, halved and juiced tomatoes

2 to 4 tablespoons tomato paste or tomato sauce

1 teaspoon dried tarragon

1 clove garlic

Hot pepper sauce

11/2 tablespoons flour

Boil or steam

One 2- to 21/2-pound lobster or three 1-pound lobsters

Remove the meat, cut into bite-size pieces and refrigerate. Discard the sand sack and intestinal vein; scoop tomalley (green stuff) and coral (coral-colored eggs) into a sieve and set over a bowl. Rub through the strainer with

1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened

scrape all the residue off the bottom of the strainer, cover and refrigerate for later. Chop the shells into pieces no bigger than a couple inches in their longest dimension; scissors may be the simplest way to do this unless the shells are particularly thick. Film a large saucepan with

3 tablespoons olive oil

Set over high heat and when very hot add the chopped shells. Stir and toss for 2 to 3 minutes, then add

1 medium carrot, diced

1 medium onion , diced

tossing for 2 minutes more. Pour in

1/3 cup Cognac

With a long match or a long lighter, carefully flame the cognac for several seconds, shaking the pan. Extinguish with

11/2 cups lobster stock, fish stock or chicken stock

1 cup dry white wine or dry vermouth

Stir in

11/2 cups peeled, halved and juiced tomatoes, chopped

2 to 4 tablespoons tomato paste or tomato sauce

1 teaspoon dried tarragon

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 teaspoon salt

Pepper, to taste

Few drops of hot pepper sauce

Cover and simmer 30 minutes, stirring once or twice. Turn into a large sieve set over another saucepan or bowl, stir and shake sieve to loosen vegetables from shells. Remove shells (reserve them for a later step) and press the juices out of the vegetables in the sieve. Reserve the vegetable solids along with the shells.

You should have about 11/2 cups of rosy-colored wine-flavored lobster juices, which will need a light thickening. Blend together

11/2 tablespoons unsalted butter

11/2 tablespoons flour

to form a paste. Whip into the hot juices and simmer, stirring with a whisk for 2 minutes. Correct the seasoning. When you are about ready to serve, add the tomalley-butter and lobster meat just long enough to heat through. Serve over pasta or rice.

ATTNAnd about those reserved lobster shells and vegetable solids: cover them with lightly salted water, simmer for 25 to 30 minutes and strain. Use this stock to make Lobster Risotto, bisque or other dishes.

Adapted from Julia Child & More Company

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