Living Off The Land (& Sea)
PREP TIME: 34 minutes
COOK TIME: 30 minutes
Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. You know what that means. It’s time to butter up all those lucky lovers out there. If you’re planning on preparing a special meal, you should include some of these amazing appetizers.
Rich, luxuriant, loaded with lobster and filled with buttery-goodness, this is a tantalizing dish guaranteed to bedazzle.
GO BIG, OR GO HOME…
A few years ago, I gifted my wife a seven-pound lobster for Valentine’s day. She was delighted! I think a big lobster is a better gift than flowers. Flowers will die, but a big lobster will leave you with lots of leftover lobster meat. A gift that keeps on giving…
Jumbo lobsters (those over 5 pounds) are usually caught in deep, cold water well offshore. Some people have the misconception that big lobsters are inferior in taste to small ones. In my experience, this is far from the truth.
Be sure to closely inspect them before laying your money down. I like to make the fishmonger work for the sale, so I’ll have them take 3 or 4 biggies out of the tank and weigh them, then I’ll buy the friskiest pick of the litter. If a lobster sits for an extended period in the tank at the market, its meat atrophies and the flavor deteriorates. The frisky ones are the freshest.
Two of the biggest mistakes people make when steaming a lobster is failing to salt the water and/or overcooking it. For the water, use a half cup of salt per gallon. Use enough solution to fill 2 to 3 inches in the bottom of a large pot and bring it to a vigorous boil. Steam the lobster for 13 minutes for the first pound, and add three minutes for each additional pound thereafter; i.e., a 7-pounder will take 31 minutes. Flip it over about halfway through cooking to ensure even doneness.
“Gougères” is a fancy French word for cheese puffs. Made with lobster meat, they make a crispy and decadent appetizer.
- (Makes about 2 dozen)
- 1/2 cup chopped cooked lobster meat
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup flour
- 4 eggs, at room temperature
- 2 egg whites, beaten
- 1 cup grated mild cheddar cheese
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
- 1 egg, beaten, for brushing
- 1 teaspoon chopped chives (for garnish)
Step 1: Getting Started
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Bring the milk, water, butter, and salt just to a boil in a saucepan on medium-high heat. Add the flour, lower the heat to low, and stir with a spatula.
Continue to cook, stirring constantly, to dry out the dough, about an additional minute or two. When it’s ready, it will form a smooth ball that easily pulls away from the sides of the pan.
Step 2: Mixing
Place the dough into a stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment, fire up the mixer on low speed and add the eggs in one at a time, beating well after each addition. Once all the eggs have been added, the dough will be shiny, thick, and fall off a spoon. Blend in the cheese, cayenne, and lobster meat, being careful not to over-mix.
Step 3: Baking
Use two spoons to form small balls, about a tablespoon each, and drop them onto the baking sheet. Give them plenty of space to cook evenly and grow (they will double in size). Brush with the beaten egg whites, sprinkle with salt, and bake for 15 minutes.
Rotate the pans, then bake until crisp on the outside and slightly soft on the inside, about an additional 15 minutes. Check one for doneness before serving.
Garnish with chives and serve immediately.
Any questions please feel free to email me at Andy@onthewater.com
For more recipes you can purchase Cooking the Catch II from our On The Water store!.