Lobster with Broccoli Rabe Pesto

I love making pesto, other than the classic pesto. According to a NYTimes article from 2015, the large consumption of pine nuts is damaging the environment. The rising global demand for pesto has prompted unsustainable nut harvests in many regions, such as Russia and Korea. Is it worth it? No, I don’t think so. As for the basil component of pesto, although I do love a freshly-made classic pesto “alla Genovese”, it’s been-there-done-that for me. I enjoy making other pestos, substituting other greens, such as broccoli rabe or stinging nettle or even nasturtium, and substituting other nuts, such as almonds, cashews, pistachios, and even walnuts! It’s better for the environment and also, it’s cheaper too. Pine nuts are ridiculously expensive!

Here is Lobster Knuckle and Claw with Heirloom Tomatoes, a Broccoli Rabe Pesto, and Micro Thai Basil.

Lobster with Broccolini & Sweet Pea Soup

In the springtime and early summertime, English peas are at its best. One of my favorite things to make is this pea soup. The peas are naturally sweet and I usually serve it cold.

You can make this soup vegan/vegetarian but I find that making a great flavorful chicken stock will elevate this pea soup.

This Cold Sweet English Pea Soup is served with Lobster Claws & Knuckles, Charred Broccolini, Shaved Beets, Bronze Fennel, and Red Purslane.

Lobster Claw Spaghetti with Star Anise Tomato Sauce

I was mildly surprised at how well this special tomato sauce came out. The star anise flavor is very subtle. I got many compliments and positive feedback from this pasta. Some Italians even questioned if I were a spy. Aw shucks.

This Housemade Spaghetti is with Lobster Claws & Knuckles in a Star Anise Tomato Sauce, garnished with Micro Oxalis (Wood Sorrel). Of course, everything is made in-house, including the tomato sauce. We, chefs, don’t buy pre-made tomato sauces.

Lobster Pasta with Sea Urchin Cream

I love sea urchin/uni. Love it! Love it over sushi, love it over rice, love it by itself. But that gets expensive, so I also love it in sauces.

Note that there is actually no heavy cream in the sea urchin “cream”. It’s more like a sea urchin purée but that sounds weird.

This is Housemade Spaghetti with Lobster Claws & Knuckles in Sea Urchin Cream and Julienned Snow Peas.

Recipe: Sauce Américaine

As promised, here is my recipe for this amazing sauce.

If done right, this Sauce Américaine is one of the best things in life. Sauce Américaine is a traditional sauce in classical French cuisine, consisting of onions, tomatoes, white wine, brandy, cayenne pepper, butter, and fish velouté. In my interpretation of this sauce, I make a rich lobster stock first, reduce that down until almost syrupy, then mount in the butter, add in a touch of lemon, and et voila!

This recipe is for restaurant quantity, feel free to cut in half or by four to make for home use. Full recipe makes around two reduced quarts of stock.

  • 5 lbs lobster bodies, around 3-4 bodies per pound
  • 1 cup brandy
  • 2 Spanish onions, chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 large carrots, sliced into 1-inch pieces
  • 4 celery stalks, chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • 3 TBS black peppercorns
  • 8 thyme sprigs
  • 2 tarragon sprigs
  • 4 bay leaves
  • Handful garlic cloves
  • Handful parsley stems
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup tomato paste
  • Neutral cooking oil
  • Salt

Fresh lobster bodies are best but if you get them frozen, thaw them before use. Smashing frozen bodies is more difficult but it can still be done – it’s just tiring. Trust me. I prefer them fresh so the pounding is instantaneous.

In a rondeau (a wide, shallow pan, similar to a stock pot or a Dutch oven but not nearly as deep, the pan has straight sides), turn heat to high and heat up cooking oil. Add the lobster bodies when oil is about to smoke. Toss and turn and using a hammer or blunt instrument, crush/smash the heads until the coral comes out. Continuing tossing and turning so that it doesn’t burn. Add brandy and flambé aka light on fire. Be careful not to burn your eyebrows – because that does happen, never to me but I’ve seen the damage!

Once lobster bodies are red, add a little bit more cooking oil and add in the chopped vegetables, herbs, and spices (onions, carrots, celery, thyme, tarragon, garlic, peppercorns, bay leaves, parsley stems). Sauté the veggies until soft, add a little salt to breakdown cell walls. When onions are translucent and soft, add in the dry white wine (Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc) and cook off wine until almost dry.

Add in tomato paste and toss paste to spread all around everything in the pot. Cook tomato paste for 2 minutes. Next, add enough water to fill the top of lobster bodies. Cover with lid or with foil and bring to a boil. Turn heat to medium low, and simmer for 2 hours.

After 2 hours, water levels should have reduced by half. Using a slotted spoon or mesh skimmer, take solids out and discard. Then using a chinois or mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth, stain liquid into a clean new sauce/stock pot. On high heat, reduce liquid until very dark and syrupy, about four-fifths.

Store lobster stock in pint containers and place in fridge. Best used within two weeks.

Serving ratio for two people:

When serving, heat up ¼ cup of stock, do not continue reducing, add in 2 TBS melted butter. Add a few drops of lemon juice and serve with accompanying sea creatures.

Sample dishes:

Lobster in Sauce Américaine

If done right, this Sauce Américaine is one of the best things in life. Sauce Américaine is a traditional sauce in classical French cuisine, consisting of onions, tomatoes, white wine, brandy, cayenne pepper, butter, and fish velouté. In my interpretation of this sauce, I make a rich lobster stock first by adding lobster bodies, the complete French mirepoix (not just onions), tomato paste, and a bouquet garni, with water to cover. I reduce all that liquid down to nine tenths and then mount in the butter. Maybe I’ll share my recipe in another post.

This is a Lobster Tail with Crispy Shallots and Micro Parsley in Sauce Américaine.

*Recipe here.