Sautéed Maine Lobster with Sweet Corn and Rosemary-Ginger Vinaigrette
Bacchanalia restaurant is renowned for its use of organic produce and for working with local farmers and small food producers. This colorful, eye-appealing first course starts with live lobsters and fresh garden corn. A tantalizing sweet-sour rosemary-ginger vinaigrette is the flavor foil for the sweetness of both lobster and corn. The chef uses a combination of sliced shiitake and white matsutake mushrooms. Matsutake are wild mushrooms and less available, so substitute with white button mushrooms. A flavor note: Fresh tender organic beets are oven-roasted so none of their flavor is diluted by cooking water. To dispatch live lobsters quickly, simply, and with the least pain, insert the tip of a chef’s knife between the eyes and press downward with the knife, effectively cutting the brain in half.
- Maine Lobsters - Two 1 1/2 lb
- Shiitake and matsutake mushrooms - 1 pound sliced, combined
- Corn Kernels - 2 cups fresh, cut from ears of corn
- Unsalted Butter - 2 tablespoons
- Olive Oil - 1 tablespoon
- Vanilla oil - As needed (recipe follows)
- Rosemary-ginger vinaigrette - As needed (recipe follows)
- Parsley oil - As needed (recipe follows)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Sunflower Sprouts - As needed, fresh
- Beets - 2 small organic, roasted, peeled, sliced
- Rosemary - Sprigs, for garnish
- Chervil - Sprigs, for garnish
Kill lobster, and separate claws and tail from the body. Insert a wooden skewer lengthwise through the tail to prevent curling during cooking. Cook claws and tail in boiling, lightly salted water until the shells are just beginning to turn red. Remove from water and rinse until cool under cool running water. Remove lobster tail and claw meat from the shell, using lobster or shellfish shears. (In a pinch, use poultry shears.) Keep claw meat as whole as possible. In a heavy gauge 12-inch sauté pan or skillet, heat butter and oil over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and sauté until just cooked, then add corn kernels and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add lobster meat and cook until opaque. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
To serve: Heat Rosemary-Vinaigrette quickly. Drizzle on four individual serving plates or shallow bowls. Divide vegetable ingredients and mound in center. Garnish plate with a small heap of sunflower sprouts and 2 slices of beet. Arrange lobster claw and tail meat on top of sprouts. Place chervil sprig on top of beets. Sprinkle with Rosemary-Ginger Vinaigrette.
Sprinkle lobster with vanilla oil. Dot plate with parsley oil. Season ingredients with a light grind of sea salt and black pepper. Garnish with a sprig of rosemary, removing a few leaves and distributing over ingredients, if desired.
Chop rosemary, ginger and garlic in food processor, pulsing to chop. Add vinegar, soy sauce, honey and continue to blend. Drizzle in peanut oil and sesame oil while processing.
Combine vanilla bean and seeds in glass container with oil and let stand for at least 1 hour. To store for longer periods, heat oil and vanilla bean and seeds in a small saucepan and lower heat to simmer. Simmer for 15 minutes. Strain oil into glass container, discarding solids. Cool oil and refrigerate, covered.
Bring lightly salted water to boil in a 2-quart saucepan. Place parsley in a fine-meshed sieve small enough to immerse in water. Blanch parsley by immersing sieve in water for 20 seconds. Remove sieve and rinse under cold running water. Place on paper toweling and pat dry. Place parsley and oil in blender and blend until parsley is pureed. Pour parsley oil into a clean glass container and let rest, covered, until parsley settles to bottom. Pour oil off top; discard sediment. Store, covered and refrigerated, for 1 week.
**To roast beets: Wash beets, trimming off stem and root ends. Season lightly with salt and freshly ground pepper. Wrap in a lightly oiled foil packet, place packet on a sheet pan, and roast in a 400 F oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the size of the beets. Remove pan from oven. Let beets cool to room temperature in the foil packet. When cool enough to handle, unwrap beets, peel, and slice each beet into four round slices.