Lobster Crisp in Water Chestnut Flour
This is a spectacular dish for a special dinner, although not one for a novice cook or one who is flustered by the prospect of last-minute work. The tempura batter gives an almost translucent look to the lobster and may be used for any tempura dish. The items marked with a * may be found in the Asian section of supermarkets, or Asian markets. The lobster may be e boiled and the sauce cooked up to 1 day in advance and refrigerated, tightly covered. Heat the sauce gently over low heat and deep-fry the lobster at the last minute.
- Lobster Sauce
- Clarified Butter - 1/3 cup
- Dry white wine - 2 cups
- Seafood Stock - 1 cup (alt. fish stock or bottled clam juice)
- Unsalted Butter - 4 tablespoons
- Shallots - 3, thinly sliced
- Green Onions - 2, white part and 2 inches of the green, thinly sliced
- Lemongrass stalks - Bottom 3 inches of 2 stalks, crushed
- Red Curry Paste - 1 tablespoon
- Cilantro - 1/4 cup minced
- Carrot - 2 tablespoons, grated
- Coconut - 2 tablespoons, finely ground
- Coconut Milk - Liquid from 1
- Kaffir lime leaves - 1
- cherry tomatoes - 4, ripe
- Thai Chili - 1 minced (alt. 1/4 serrano or jalapeno chili)
- Lime Juice - 2 tablespoons, fresh
- Tuna and Salmon
- Tuna Bellies - 8 oz
- Salmon Bellies - 8 oz
- Ginger - 2 tablespoons, minced fresh
- Garlic - 2 cloves, minced
- Mirin - 2 tablespoons
- Soy Sauce - 1/4 cup
- Peanut Oil - 1/4 cup
- Peanut Oil - 4 cups
- Egg Whites - 1
- Egg - 1
- Carbonated Soda Water - 1 cup
- Ice - 2 cups
- All-Purpose Flour - 1/2 cup
- Cornstarch - 1/4 cup
- Water Chestnut Flour - 2 cups
- Green Onion - 1, sliced lengthwise very thin
- Thai chili sauce - 4 tablespoons
- Reserved fish marinade (above)
- Green Onions - 4, white part and 3 inches of green, cut into fine julienne
- Coconut - 1/2 cup, shaved fresh
- Thai Basil - 4 (alt. Italian basil sprigs)
- Green Pea Shoots - 4 oz, fresh
- Creme Fraiche - 1/4 cup
- Wasabi Paste - 1 teaspoon
To prepare the lobsters: Bring a large quantity of salted water to a boil in a large stockpot. Plunge the lobsters into the pot head first, and cover the pan. Once the water returns to a boil, cook the lobsters 5 minutes. Drain, then plunge them into a bowl of ice water. Once cool enough to handle, remove the claw meat from the shell. Twist the tails from the bodies. With a large, sharp knife, split the tails down the middle, leaving the shell on. Remove and discard the dark intestinal vein that runs down the tail. Remove and discard the sand sac between the eyes and the spongy gills along the body walls. Set aside the body sections for the lobster sauce. Thread the tail and claw meat onto 6- to 8-inch metal skewers and set aside.
To make the lobster sauce: Heat the clarified butter in a stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the reserved lobster bodies and cook 5 minutes. Remove the lobster bodies and add the white wine and stock or clam juice, stirring to dislodge any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Transfer the lobster shells and the liquid to a deep, heavy pot and place over medium heat while proceeding with the next step.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the butter in a small saute pan or skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots, green onions, lemongrass, and curry paste, and saute for 3 minutes, or until aromatic. Add the cilantro, carrot, coconut, coconut liquid, optional lime leaves, and cherry tomatoes to this mixture and simmer for 3 minutes. Scrape the mixture into the stockpot along with the lobster shells and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer the sauce for 40 minutes. Remove the shells from the pan with a slotted spoon and add the Thai chili and lime juice. Puree the mixture in a blender or food processor for 30 seconds. Strain through a fine-meshed sieve and whisk in the remaining butter, 1 teaspoon at a time. Set aside and keep warm.
To prepare the tuna and salmon: In a non-aluminum bowl, combine the tuna and salmon with the ginger, garlic, mirin, and soy sauce. Marinate for 5 minutes. Pour the peanut oil into a 12-inch sauce pan or skillet over high heat. When the oil is hot, remove the fish from the marinade (reserve the marinade) and place it in the pan, skin-side down. Without moving the fish or shaking the pan, cook the fish until deep brown and crispy on one side, about 4 minutes. Carefully turn the fish with a slotted spatula and cook on the other side for 1 minute, or just enough to warm the fish through an finish the cooking. Remove from heat and keep warm.
While the fish is cooking, prepare the tempura oil and batter: Heat the peanut oil for the tempura in a deep, heavy pot or deep-fryer over high heat. Make the tempura batter by combining the egg white and egg in a large bowl. Add the soda water and the ice, but do not mix. In a small bowl, combine the all-purpose flour and cornstarch, then add to the egg mixture and stir without combining completely. (The batter should be lumpy, with a consistency just thick enough to coat your finger; thin with soda water as needed.) In a shallow pan, combine the water chestnut flour and the sliced green onion.
When the oil is hot but not smoking (375 F on a fat thermometer), dip the skewers of lobster into the tempura batter, dredge in the water chestnut flour, and deep-fry for 2 minutes, or until very lightly colored. Do not overcook. Drain on paper towels.
To serve: Arrange the tuna and salmon bellies on each plate and place a skewer of lobster between them. Spoon 1 tablespoon of the Thai chili sauce on each plate net to the fish and spoon 1 tablespoon of marinade on top of the fish. On the other side of each plate, pour a larger spoonful of the lobster sauce. Sprinkle julienned green onions, shaved coconut, basil, and pea shoots on each plate. Combine the creme fraiche and the wasabi, place a dollop of the mixture on the lobster sauce, and serve immediately.