Thursday, 20 September 2012

Flo's DIY Lobster

Lobster and Le Creuset
After our trawl through a good few lobsters in London I developed a bit of a craving but didn’t really want to spend another £20 or so, as good value as that is… I was staying with a friend who regularly frequents food markets and is a bit of a chef herself so she kindly brought us a whole one, live.

If like me you find the idea of boiling it alive a little disturbing, there are many other ways to do it, just search youtube.

Morbidity aside, for our DIY recipe there really isn’t much too it. You boil it in salted water for 15 minutes if, like ours, it is pretty big, and more like 12 minutes for a smaller one. You can always ask the person selling it to you for advice on this – they tend to know their stuff. 

At around £12 for a pretty big, sharing-sized lobster, this really is the best value, and not too much of a hassle at all.

Once it is cooked, you should turn it so it is lying on its back and neatly slice it down the middle, I like to do this by bashing the tip of the knife in at one point and then gently sawing through, some people use scissors but mine aren't sharp/strong enough. 

The only cheffy parts of doing a great lobster, aside from the boiling (do NOT over boil or it will be rubber) , are the sides and the sauce. 

For sides we had some whelks from the market, a fresh tomato salad and some spinach with courgette. We felt like being virtuous but I also love it with a good big bowl of chips with it. Heston’s triple cooked ones are pretty good, but I usually only bother to cook them twice. 

For lobster sauces, the French like to drench it in butter, but I am more Mediterranean when it comes to crustaceans. 

I once had it with truffle mayonnaise at Loch Fyne but they seem to have stopped doing that. It really was delicious and I will research a recipe soon. Harvey Nichols has one that I haven't tried but will do ASAP (see here) and do truffle infused olive oil that you could definitely add to the mayonnaise recipe below without the lemon rind...

In the meantime, I like to serve mine with a lemon mayonnaise or aioli. Here is my fool proof recipe for both, and I mean fool proof, I have done this maybe 50 times or more and it has only split once when the eggs were too old and I thought I would try anyway. (To test how young your eggs are you can place them in a bowl of water and if they float they are too old for mayonnaise but probably still ok to boil, fry, or scramble):

Lemon Mayonnaise Ingredients: 
2 Eggs,
Light olive oil/other tasteless oil (500ml)
Extra virgin olive oil (I put around 100ml)
Salt (to taste, but a lot, 3 big pinches, Maldon is tastier)
Dijon Mustard (a small teaspoon / to taste)
Juiced lemon
Zest of half a lemon
And an electric whisk…

Aoili Ingredients
2 Eggs
2 small cloves of garlic or 1 large, crushed very well
Extra virgin olive oil (I put around 400ml)
Light olive oil/other tasteless oil (200ml)

Salt (to taste, but a lot, 3 big pinches, Maldon is tastier)
Juiced lemon
And an electric whisk…

Method for Both
Get out your ingredients. Pour boiling water into a sauce pan (not over a hob) and leave a big glass/ceramic bowl above the water for a few (2-3) minutes. This is just to warm the bowl - don't let any water get into it. 

While the bowl is beating heated, carefully separate 2 eggs and place the yolks in the bowl – whisk for at 1 minute (definitely with an electric whisk) until airy. For the aioli, add the garlic at this point, for the lemon mayonnaise, add the lemon zest at this point.

Then, slowly drip the olive oils in whilst whisking. If you add too much at once and it could curdle. It should start to get thick and glossy.

After you have added about 300ml oil you can add it more quickly. It doesn't matter what order you add the extra-virgin or normal olive oil.  

After you have added around 400ml of oil you can add half a tablespoon of lemon juice (and the mustard if making lemon mayonnaise) and the rest of the oil, whilst whisking.

Once this is done, add the salt and another half tablespoon of lemon juice. At this point you should really taste it and make sure it is salty and lemony enough for your taste. 

If you like it thinner then you can add very small amounts of cold water at the end too until you reach your desired consistency. 

we ended the meal with a lovely mint tea infusion made from fresh mint leaves and Fortnum and Mason's Moroccan Mint Tea