Whole Roasted Lobster
An unusual pairing of lobster and apples by Chef Tom Aikens creates a tower of lobster meat topped with a single large ravioli filled with lobster and apple, sitting on a base of apple puree with apple reduction sauce. Aikens takes advantage of the last-minute warming of the lobster claw meat to create a red lobster oil at the same time to accent the dish. Smoky bacon wrapping the lobster tail meat adds its own flavor note.
- Lobster - Two 1-1/2 pound lobsters
- Olive Oil - 1/4 cup
- Potatoes - 2 large
- Unsalted Butter - 8 tablespoons
- Chanterelle Mushrooms - 1 cup, cleaned
- Shallots - 2 teaspoons, minced
- Verjus - 1/2 cup (pinot gris if available, or white verjus)
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Garlic - 2 teaspoons, minced
- Baby Spinach - 4 cups
- Tarragon - 4 sprigs fresh, 2 left whole and 2 stemmed and chopped
To prepare the lobsters: To kill the lobsters, quickly thrust the point of a sharp heavy knife into the top of the head between the eyes. Twist the heads from the tails and discard the heads. Twist the middle tail flipper and gently pull to remove the intestinal strip on each tail. Bring a saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil. Twist off the claws and knuckles and drop into the water; cook 3 minutes, remove, and plunge into ice water to stop the cooking. Drain on paper towels. Drop the tails into the boiling water and cook for 3 minutes; plunge into ice water. Drain on paper towels. Crack the claws carefully and remove the meat whole. Set aside. Remove the knuckle meat and set aside for the ravioli. Remove the meat from the tails whole and wrap in the bacon strips. Set aside.
To make the apple puree: Peel, core, and chop four of the apples and put in a small saucepan with 2 tablespoons of water, sugar, and the juice of one lemon. Cover and cook over medium heat until the apple has softened. Puree and strain through a fine-meshed sieve. Set aside; keep warm.
To make the ravioli: Preheat the oven to 400 F. Peel another apple, core, and cut into 1/4-inch dice. Put the apple into a medium saute pan with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Cook over medium heat, tossing or stirring occasionally, until the apple has started to soften. Stir in 2 teaspoons of the chopped rosemary. Place in the oven and roast until the apple is caramelized and golden brown. Remove and let cool. Chop the lobster knuckle meat. In a separate saute pan or skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and add the chopped lobster, 2 teaspoons of the rosemary, and a generous pinch of salt. Roast in the oven until the mixture begins to color; remove and let cool. Mix the cooled lobster and apple dice with the chicken mousse and 1/4 cup of the apple puree to bind.
Roll the pasta dough until very thin and cut out four large circles. Roll one of the circles three more times until it becomes a long thin oval. Lay this pasta oval on a work surface. Put about 3 tablespoons of the filling in the center. Roll the second circle three more times until it, too, is a long thin oval, and place it across the filling at right angles to the other pasta sheet. Gently press the pasta pieces together, cupping the top piece over the filling. Select a ring mold large enough to cut a circle of flat dough around the cupped filling, and place it down over the filling, pressing down and cutting the pasta dough in a circle with a margin around the filling. Press the edges of the ravioli together, moistening slightly with a dampened finger if necessary to get the halves to stick together. Repeat with the remaining pasta circles to make another large ravioli.
Bring a pot of lightly salted water to a simmer over medium-low heat; the water should have small bubbles in it, but not be moving. Slip the ravioli into the barely simmering water and cook for 30 seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon and place into ice water momentarily to stop the cooking. Drain on paper towels and refrigerate.
To prepare the asparagus: Peel the asparagus and cut off the tips of each just below the bud, making tips and stalks. Bring a saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil and add the asparagus tips and stalks; cook 2 to 3 minutes, depending on thickness of stalks, remove with a slotted spoon, and plunge momentarily into ice water. Drain on paper towels.
To prepare the sauce: Peel, core, and chop four apples. Juice them in a juice machine and strain through a fine-meshed sieve. Put the apple juice into a small pan over medium heat and slowly bring to a boil. Cook until reduced by 1/2 in volume. Skim the juice and pass it through a fine-meshed sieve again. Set aside and keep warm.
To complete the dish: Bring water to a boil in a steamer and set a rack over the water. Place the ravioli on the rack and steam for 3 to 4 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375 F. Season the wrapped lobster tails with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in an ovenproof medium saute pan or skillet over medium-high heat and sear the lobster tails on both sides until they just start to color. Add a 2 tablespoons of butter and 1 teaspoon of chopped rosemary and put the pan in the oven for 3 to 4 minutes, turning the lobster after 2 minutes. Heat the remaining olive oil in a small skillet and add the lobster claws. Place in the oven with the tail meat for 2 to 3 minutes; the oil will turn red and will be used in the dish as well.
Combine 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons of water in a small skillet and heat the asparagus over medium heat for 2 minutes.
Peel and core the remaining apple and cut into 1/8-inch dice. Squeeze a little lemon juice over it, and toss. Finish the sauce by heating the reduced apple juice and adding the very fine apple dice. Stir in the tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil and the chives.
Warm the apple puree in a small pan.
To serve: Spoon apple puree into the bottom of 2 large soup plates. Season the lobster tails with salt and lemon juice and cut each into five medallion slices. Place a large ring mold in the center of the puree on one of the plates and arrange half of the tail medallions in a circle, overlapping them slightly. Lift the ring away. Cross the claws on top, then the asparagus. Repeat on the other plate. Pour half of the sauce over the lobster claws. Place a ravioli on top of each and pour the rest of the sauce over them. Drizzle with the red claw oil.
Place the chicken in the bowl of a food processor and put in the freezer for 20 minutes. Add the salt and process the chicken just until pureed. Pour in the egg white and cream slowly while pulsing the machine until the thoroughly mixed. Press through a tamis or fine-meshed sieve, cover, and refrigerate.
In a food processor, combine the flour, salt, and eggs. Take the dough out of the processor and cut into 4 pieces. Wrap each in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours.
When ready to roll the dough, roll each piece through at least 5 times, folding between each rolling, until the dough is smooth and elastic.