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
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.