Clawing back

Open lasagne of lobster with shellfish vinaigrette and asparagus

It’s a new week. First up? Lobster. Lasagne Ouverte d’Homard avec Vinaigrette de Crustacés. An open lasagne of lobster with a shellfish vinaigrette. Fancy for a Wednesday. Time to kill another crustacean. A sharp knife through the back of the head and quickly down through the skull brought an end to the lobster. A few minutes later the entire body was dismembered yet the hindmost leg on the tail piece was still kicking away like a dog with a flea in his ear. Mad!

Lobster breakdown

The body parts were cooked in a court bouillon. The meat was extracted and cut into scallops. The bits of shell and the antennae were cardinalised in the oven to exaggerate the redness. Tomato paste was added. Then thyme, bay and garlic. And lots of oil. Over a gentle heat that oil infused and took on a deep red colour and shellfish flavour. This was passed and sherry vinegar whisked in with seasoning and a chiffonade of basil to create a vinaigrette.

Making the pasta sheets were straight forward. I had a male lobster so didn’t have the option to incorporate roe for flavour and colour. I did however manage to enclose fresh basil leaves within my pasta. Huzzah! Basil leaves are actually quite a thick leaf, which meant my pasta was a little thicker than normal. But as chef said, I couldn’t have rolled it any thinner for fear of the leaves breaching. The sheets were cooked in salted boiling water before cutting out the disks for my open lasagne. Cutting out the desired shape before cooking doesn’t work apparently. The pieces would get deformed by the cooking because the pasta is flat and fresh. It tasted great. Nicely cooked and with just the right amount of bite. Yeah.

Petals of blanched tomato were cooked confit with garlic, thyme and olive oil. Tasty. Petals are when you divide a blanched and refreshed tomato into quarters lengthways and cut away the pippy pulp from the flesh. Asparagus spears were trimmed up and cooked in a little water and butter. The asparagus trimmings were boiled and then puréed with basil. It’s annoying when what you’re trying to purée keeps flying up the sides of the blender. If this happens just add a spoonful of water. If you add too much water and your final purée is wet, you can put it back on the heat and evaporate the excess liquid or try hanging the purée to let it drain.

The pasta was quickly warmed in boiling water for service while the lobster scallops were gently warmed in a little of the infused oil and water. To serve, lobster, tomato petals and pasta were built up in the centre of the plate. A splosh of purée here and there. Drizzle of lobster vinaigrette. Asparagus spears. Claw garnish. It’s always good when you manage to extract the claw meat intact. The other claw didn’t come our so well. I had to dig for the cartilage.

Chef’s open lasagne of lobster

In demo chef also prepared Salade de Caille au Céleri Remoulade. Quail served with celeriac remoulade.

The quails were butchered to crowns which were coloured in a pan then roasted in the oven. The wings and trimmings were used to make a jus with all the usual suspects and in the usual way. It was reduced and some of it pepped up with balsamic vinegar and peanut oil to create a glaze. The legs were cooked confit. So succulent. Pop one in your gob and pull the bone out. Yum yum.

And the spiraliser came out too. What’s not to like?

Quail breast and confit legs with celeriac remoulade