Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Butter Poached Lobster

Our knock-off.

The real thing.

We thought butter poached lobster would be easy. After peeling 3 lobsters and whisking 4 sticks of butter into 1 tablespoon of water over the stove, we understood why the French Laundry was the French Laundry. Can you imagine being the lobster peeling guy? Or the butter emulsifier? I think I'd rather be the lobster peeler. It's a little sharper but much more intellectually stimulating.

We didn't have the ingredients or patience to make the potatoes and leeks and sauce this round, so we made instead a lemon beurre blanc (Alton Brown's recipe). It was delicious, too sour on its own but perfect with the buttery lobster. The lobster turned out to be snappy and buttery but not tough. We're not sure if it's the same as the real thing...guess we need to find out another time!

“Beets and Leeks” – Maine Lobster Tail “Pochee au Beurre Doux” with King Richard Leeks, “Pommes Maxim’s” and Red Beet Essence
Adapted from ''The French Laundry Cookbook'' by Thomas Keller (Artisan, 1999)

  • 1 pound unsalted butter at room temperature, in pieces
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced leek rounds
  • 1/4 medium-size ripe tomato, peeled, flesh cut in small diamond shapes
  • 2 teaspoons minced chives
  • 1 teaspoon each finely diced carrot, turnip and dark green of leeks
  • Red-beet essence (see recipe)
  • Par-cooked meat from 3 lobsters at room temperature (see recipe)
  • Pommes Maxim (see recipe)


Place 2 tablespoons water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to very low, and whisk in butter piece by piece. Continue adding until all butter is emulsified. Set aside, and keep warm (the best way is in a thermos); do not allow to boil.
Bring a 3-quart pot of water seasoned with 1 tablespoon salt to a boil. Have a large bowl of ice water ready. Add leeks to boiling water, cook 5 minutes until just tender, drain in a sieve and place sieve with leeks in ice water until leeks are cool. Drain, and transfer to a small sauté pan. Place over low heat to reheat. Add tomato, chives, diced carrot, turnip and leek greens. Stir in 1/3 cup emulsified butter. Season with salt and pepper, and cover to keep warm.
Place beet essence in a small saucepan. Whisk in 3 tablespoons emulsified butter, and cover to keep warm.
Heat oven to 300 degrees. Place lobster pieces in single layer in a large saucepan or sauté pan. Add remaining emulsified butter. Lobster meat should be just about covered. Place pan over low heat, and cook 5 to 6 minutes, until meat is just heated through. Remove knuckle pieces, drain and fold into leek mixture.
While lobster cooks, place potatoes in oven 2 to 3 minutes to reheat.
To serve, place a spoonful of warm beet essence in center of each of 6 plates. Briefly reheat leek mixture, and spoon onto beet essence. Remove lobster tails and claws from butter mixture, draining well; place a tail piece and a claw on each plate, on top of leeks. Break potatoes in six pieces and place on top of the lobster. Serve.
6 servings

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