Jump to content

Jeffrey Steingarten

participating member
  • Content count

    68
  • Joined

  • Last visited

  1. Hamburger

    Hamburger Recipe will be appearing soon. Keywords: Beef, American ( RG2035 )
  2. But does all the dissection — not to mention photo- and note-taking — take away from the enjoyment of the meal? If chefg is trying to guide diners a progression that engages all their senses — waxing and waning throughout the meal — doesn't that disrupt the flow and energy? And, perhaps this is another question, but if the meal is so cerebral, are you thinking so much about each component of the dish that it deadens say, your visual sense or sense of smell? As an example, you know how when you're driving and you're looking for an address, you have to turn down the music? You're concentrating on several things at once. Would you be able to savor the taste of the PB&J and enjoy the company of your friend in the passenger's seat at the same time? And thanks for the biggrins... I'm not trying to be obnoxious. I'm seriously curious. ← Liz is right, of course, and in no way obnoxious. That's why I find the pod people fair game for satire and even frontal attack. It's hard to think of a great meal that is not, quite simply, delicious. Along with that comes one or more of: cerebration, celebration, humor, visual beauty, the sacramental, admiration and gratitude for what one is eating, a sense of historical and cultural connections, etc., etc. Great meals don't have to be fun, but great hypermodern meals do; every fine dinner I've had by Ferran Adria, Grant, Jose Ramon Andres in D.C., Wylie Dufresne, and the other hypermodern cooks are full of fun and often witty. Ferran walks around the diningroom during dinner watching to see if his customers get the jokes; if they're too serious, they probably won't get another reservation. The pod people can forget about it.
  3. Dear Rob, With 2 and a half weeks to spare, you might well get a reservation at Alinea. Remember that it's open on Sunday evening. Call immediately. It's worth some effort. Many wonderful places to eat at in Chicago. You know the names. For modern food, Charlie Trotter can still not be beat, although Tru is seriously good. For hypermodern, after Alinea, there's Avenues and Moto. Green Zebra for terrific vegetarian; Blackbird for wonderful American bistro cookng (htough that sounds as though I don't take it seriusly enough), very good Italan and Spiaggia, Arun for very fancy Thai, Everest for the best modern French cooking I've had all year, and finally Topolambampo for Mesican food that may be the best in the country. These are all famous places; I live in Manhattan and haven't been to Chicago often enough over the past ten years; when I return to Chicago, I'll try some less-known places. Good luck! Jeff Steingarten P.S. I hope that at Cafe Atlantico you ate at the Mini-Bar. That's what I mean by hypermodern. Jose Ramon Andres is a wonderful cook and wonderful restaurateur.
  4. Yes! Those are Ferran's blackberry ovaries! Good photo. What is the square underneath the ovaries made of? ← Actually no...that is a blackberry that has been cut in half. The square that it is set in is a tobacco infused cream. ← I was fooled by the little ovaries that seem to have fallen off, and by the revolting quality of awful photograph. Just kidding--about the latter but not the former. I guess that Grant took the easy way out--or, more likely, he wanted the resistance and then the crunch of a half-intact berry. Is the tobacco infusion made with smoke or some form of the plant itself? Jeffrey
  5. Yes! Those are Ferran's blackberry ovaries! Good photo. What is the square underneath the ovaries made of?
  6. The City of Chicago--no, the entire country--is in grave gastronomic peril when one of us writes that a friend of his found Grant's Milkweed pod "the most delicious pod she's ever tasted." It is time to eat a pastrami sandwich.
  7. Ferran Adria has a recipe for blackberry caviar. First you freeze the blackberries. Then you pick off each little sphere (I believe they're ovaries) with a very finely pointed knife, eat those that aren't perfect, and save the rest.
  8. That's way gross, Luisa. About the stem: it was only my friend Michael Ruhlman who alleged that the cool part was leaving the stem connected while you peel the grape. I'll have to try this several dozen times, but I believe that this adds only a small amount of effort to the actual peeling.
  9. And then you knotted the stem with your tongue? ←
  10. I was trying to make a point. Grant is a brilliant chef. Alinea is or will become a great restaurant. Some of Grant's achievement may originate in his technical mastery, but peeling a grape is no excample of this. The French have served peeled grapes for the past 50 or 100 years, in for example Sole Veronique. This is not one of Grant's inventions, though the dish is amusing and good to eat. That's what I meant to say--no need to be amazed by peeled grapes.
  11. When I dined at Allinea, they peeled the grape while it was in my mouth.
  12. Lobster Souffle II Adopted from Didier Elena

    Lobster Souffle II Adopted from Didier Elena Serves 8 as Appetizeror 4 as Main Dish. 4 lobsters, each 1 1/2 pounds, preferable female 6 T extra-virgin olive oil 1 medium onion (about 2 1/2 inches in diameter), peeled and chopped medium-fine 1/2 carrot, chopped medium-fine 1 large rib celery, chopped medium-fine 3 medium tomatoes, cored and chopped into half-inch pieces 2 heads of garlic, each cut in half crosswise but left unpeeled 2 T tomato paste 1 tsp fennel seeds, lightly crushed 1 c of cognac 2 generous cups dry white wine 8 c of salt-free chicken broth 4 slices lemon 1 large basil stem salt and pepper an ounce of black truffle or several shiitake mushrooms (or cepes), briefly parboiled in water, cooled, and cut into 1/8-inch cubes, to yield 3/8 cup 6 tarragon leaves, finely chopped 2-1/2 Tbs. butter for the bechamel, plus 2 Tbs. softened butter for the roe, plus 1 Tbs. for buttering the souffle dish 1/4 c all-purpose flour 5-1/2 cups hot milk 6 egg yolks 10 eggwhites a good pinch of cream of tartar 20 tarragon leaves, crushed salt and fresh pepper For the Lobster and Lobster Jus 1.The day before you make the soufflé: Put the lobsters in paper bags in the freezer for a half-hour. Take out one, place it on the counter shell up (and feelers down) with the eyes facing towards you. Place the point of a heavy knife or cleaver where the large, rounded body shell (carapace) meets the tail, and drive the point into the shell as you forcefully bring the knife down and towards you, splitting the upper half of the lobster in one swift motion. Yes, you can do it! Repeat with the other lobsters. (This procedure is probably the most humane way of killing a lobster, especially if you halve the tail at the same time. To do this you would use a longer knife and start instead at the head. Lobster lack centralized brains; halving them in one stroke cuts through all eight ganglia. But in this recipe, we do not want to cut the tail and its shell in half.) 2.(If you wish to postpone the day when you master the method in the previous paragraphs, simply steam the whole lobsters in a large stockpot as described below, but only until they stop moving and turn at least partially red.) Wait until the lobsters stop moving before proceeding. Twist off the tails and claws (leaving behind the joints or knuckles—the arm sections of the claws) and put them in one or more plastic bags. Refrigerate. Collect in a bowl all juices that emerge from the lobsters, now and after steaming. 3. Prepare the halved lobster bodies one at a time. Behind the eyes and continuing an inch or so back, right under the top edge of the shell, just where you’ve split it, is the translucent stomach sac. (This is the first time I’ve been able to find the sac, mentioned in all lobster recipes.) You may have cut it in half or pushed it entirely to one side of the body or the other when you split it. Pry it out with your fingers and discard. The light green or tan creamy material vaguely in the center is the tomalley, the liver—just leave it where it is. The dark green shiny stuff in female lobsters is the roe or coral (so named because it turns a brilliant coral color when you cook it). With a spoon, remove every last bit of the dark green roe and save it in a bowl. It is indispensible. 4. Chop the lobster shells, arms, joints, legs, and so forth into one-inch pieces. This is messy, too. In a heavy eight-quart saucepan or casserole set over a medium-high flame, heat four tablespoons of the olive oil and cook the chopped lobster shells, arm joints, and legs, and any available scraps of lobster meat in it, until the shells take on a roasted aroma and color, 10 to 15 minutes. While they are cooking, alternately stir them and, with a large stone or wooden pestle, crush them further. Meanwhile, heat the two remaining tablespoons of olive oil in a four-quart saucepan, add the onions, carrot, celery, and garlic, stir, lower the heat to medium-low, and cook until they have become translucent but have not taken on color. Add the tomato paste and and cook for about ten minutes. 5. Scrape the vegetables and their liquid into the heavy pan in which you cooked the lobster shells and mix together. Add the fennel seeds. Pour in the cognac and turn the heat to medium-high. If the cognac is of high quality, just cook it down until only a few tablespoons are left; if not, ignite it as soon as it begins to bubble and, shaking the pan, let it nearly boil away. Add the white wine and reduce by half, stirring occasionally. Add the chicken stock and cook, partly covered, at a strong bubble, for twenty-five minutes. (As most recipes for fish brother will tell you, cooking for longer than this will produce a bitter taste. That’s what Didier says, too.) Remove from the heat. 6. Using a pair of tongs, discard any large pieces of shell. Strain the rest through a fine sieve—a conical chinoise is ideal—into a two-quart saucepan, pressing the pieces of shell and vegetables to squeeze out every drop of lobster jus. Lay the lemon and basil on the surface, allow to steep for fifteen minutes, and remove them. Add a quarter cup of liquid you’ve collected from the lobster bodies. Remember? (The sand should have gone to the bottom of the bowl; otherwise, first strain the lobster liquid through the finest mesh.) Reduce the jus to 3 cups. Add fresh black pepper to taste and, if it is necessary, salt. Refrigerate overnight. 7. Meanwhile, steam the four lobster tails and eight claws you’ve stored in the refrigerator: Pour an inch or so of water into the bottom of a twelve- to fifteen-quart stockpot, and set over the highest heat. Put one of those petal-shaped steaming racks or similar device into the water to keep the lobster pieces from boiling instead of steaming. When the water is furiously boiling, put in the lobster pieces, cover, lower the heat a bit, and steam for ten minutes. (Subtract any time that you’ve steamed the whole lobsters if you were too squeamish to cut them in half, alive.) Quickly remove the lobster with a pair of tongs, let cool for a few minutes, and remove the meat from the shells. Store the lobster meat in a plastic bag in the refrigerator and discard the shells. For the Souffle 1. Preheat the oven to 400 dg. F. Butter the souffle dishes. 2. Cut the lobster meat into neat ¼-inch cubes. In a one-quart bowl, mix the lobster, the truffle (or mushroom), and the tarragon. Remove and reserve about half the mixture in a small bowl, then cover and refrigerate. 3. Rub and scrape the reserved roe through a sieve. Whisk it smooth with two tablespoons of softened butter. 4. Over medium heat, reduce the jus to two cups. Lower the heat, whisk in the roe-butter mixture, and at a bare simmer, cook until the roe is completely incorporated and has lent its coral color to the liquid. Remove from the heat. This is the sauce. 5. Remove one scant cup of the sauce and mix it with the lobster meat and mushrooms in the one-quart bowl. 6. To make the bechamel, melt the 2 1/2 tablespoons of butter in a two- to three-quart saucepan over medium heat, and add the flour. Cook, stirring constantly, for between three and five minutes, until the flour glistens as the butter separates but before the flour colors. Gradually whisk in the hot milk, at first a tablespoon at a time, then in larger volumes. Cook over low heat, stirring, for 15 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes. Whisk in the egg yolks and the lobster-truffle-jus mixture (which is still sitting in that one-quart bowl). Add 20 crushed tarragon leaves, salt to taste, and lots of fresh pepper. This is the souffle base. It will be mixed with the mounted eggwhites and so can stand lots of salt and pepper. 7. Whisk, by hand or with a mixer, the egg whites until they begin to foam. Add a good pinch of salt and the cream of tartar. Whisk more vigorously until the egg whites form firm peaks. Stir about one-fourth of them into the souffle base. Delicately fold this mixture back into the eggwhites. Pour and scrape into the two buttered one-quart souffle dishes. Smooth the top of the souffle mixture, which should come to the rim. Run your thumb all around the inside of the rim to create a three-quarter-inch-wide-and-deep moat, ditch, or channel. This will create the “top-hat effect.” 8. Bake the souffle in the preheated, 400 dg. F. oven for twenty minutes. The souffles are done when a thin knife slid into its center of one of them (and removed) shows that the souffle is quite moist near the bottom (though not completely liquid) and quite dry in its upper third. 9. When the souffle is nearly done, heat the sauce but do not boil it. As soon as you take the souffles from the oven, present them to your guests. Then with a large serving spoon and fork, pry apart an opening in the center of the crusts and extend the hole down nearly to the bottom of the souffles. Pour in one-four of the sauce into each, then divide the souffles among your guests. Spoon additional sauce over each serving. Keywords: French, Fish, Seafood ( RG806 )
  13. Lobster Souffle II Adopted from Didier Elena

    Lobster Souffle II Adopted from Didier Elena Serves 8 as Appetizeror 4 as Main Dish. 4 lobsters, each 1 1/2 pounds, preferable female 6 T extra-virgin olive oil 1 medium onion (about 2 1/2 inches in diameter), peeled and chopped medium-fine 1/2 carrot, chopped medium-fine 1 large rib celery, chopped medium-fine 3 medium tomatoes, cored and chopped into half-inch pieces 2 heads of garlic, each cut in half crosswise but left unpeeled 2 T tomato paste 1 tsp fennel seeds, lightly crushed 1 c of cognac 2 generous cups dry white wine 8 c of salt-free chicken broth 4 slices lemon 1 large basil stem salt and pepper an ounce of black truffle or several shiitake mushrooms (or cepes), briefly parboiled in water, cooled, and cut into 1/8-inch cubes, to yield 3/8 cup 6 tarragon leaves, finely chopped 2-1/2 Tbs. butter for the bechamel, plus 2 Tbs. softened butter for the roe, plus 1 Tbs. for buttering the souffle dish 1/4 c all-purpose flour 5-1/2 cups hot milk 6 egg yolks 10 eggwhites a good pinch of cream of tartar 20 tarragon leaves, crushed salt and fresh pepper For the Lobster and Lobster Jus 1.The day before you make the soufflé: Put the lobsters in paper bags in the freezer for a half-hour. Take out one, place it on the counter shell up (and feelers down) with the eyes facing towards you. Place the point of a heavy knife or cleaver where the large, rounded body shell (carapace) meets the tail, and drive the point into the shell as you forcefully bring the knife down and towards you, splitting the upper half of the lobster in one swift motion. Yes, you can do it! Repeat with the other lobsters. (This procedure is probably the most humane way of killing a lobster, especially if you halve the tail at the same time. To do this you would use a longer knife and start instead at the head. Lobster lack centralized brains; halving them in one stroke cuts through all eight ganglia. But in this recipe, we do not want to cut the tail and its shell in half.) 2.(If you wish to postpone the day when you master the method in the previous paragraphs, simply steam the whole lobsters in a large stockpot as described below, but only until they stop moving and turn at least partially red.) Wait until the lobsters stop moving before proceeding. Twist off the tails and claws (leaving behind the joints or knuckles—the arm sections of the claws) and put them in one or more plastic bags. Refrigerate. Collect in a bowl all juices that emerge from the lobsters, now and after steaming. 3. Prepare the halved lobster bodies one at a time. Behind the eyes and continuing an inch or so back, right under the top edge of the shell, just where you’ve split it, is the translucent stomach sac. (This is the first time I’ve been able to find the sac, mentioned in all lobster recipes.) You may have cut it in half or pushed it entirely to one side of the body or the other when you split it. Pry it out with your fingers and discard. The light green or tan creamy material vaguely in the center is the tomalley, the liver—just leave it where it is. The dark green shiny stuff in female lobsters is the roe or coral (so named because it turns a brilliant coral color when you cook it). With a spoon, remove every last bit of the dark green roe and save it in a bowl. It is indispensible. 4. Chop the lobster shells, arms, joints, legs, and so forth into one-inch pieces. This is messy, too. In a heavy eight-quart saucepan or casserole set over a medium-high flame, heat four tablespoons of the olive oil and cook the chopped lobster shells, arm joints, and legs, and any available scraps of lobster meat in it, until the shells take on a roasted aroma and color, 10 to 15 minutes. While they are cooking, alternately stir them and, with a large stone or wooden pestle, crush them further. Meanwhile, heat the two remaining tablespoons of olive oil in a four-quart saucepan, add the onions, carrot, celery, and garlic, stir, lower the heat to medium-low, and cook until they have become translucent but have not taken on color. Add the tomato paste and and cook for about ten minutes. 5. Scrape the vegetables and their liquid into the heavy pan in which you cooked the lobster shells and mix together. Add the fennel seeds. Pour in the cognac and turn the heat to medium-high. If the cognac is of high quality, just cook it down until only a few tablespoons are left; if not, ignite it as soon as it begins to bubble and, shaking the pan, let it nearly boil away. Add the white wine and reduce by half, stirring occasionally. Add the chicken stock and cook, partly covered, at a strong bubble, for twenty-five minutes. (As most recipes for fish brother will tell you, cooking for longer than this will produce a bitter taste. That’s what Didier says, too.) Remove from the heat. 6. Using a pair of tongs, discard any large pieces of shell. Strain the rest through a fine sieve—a conical chinoise is ideal—into a two-quart saucepan, pressing the pieces of shell and vegetables to squeeze out every drop of lobster jus. Lay the lemon and basil on the surface, allow to steep for fifteen minutes, and remove them. Add a quarter cup of liquid you’ve collected from the lobster bodies. Remember? (The sand should have gone to the bottom of the bowl; otherwise, first strain the lobster liquid through the finest mesh.) Reduce the jus to 3 cups. Add fresh black pepper to taste and, if it is necessary, salt. Refrigerate overnight. 7. Meanwhile, steam the four lobster tails and eight claws you’ve stored in the refrigerator: Pour an inch or so of water into the bottom of a twelve- to fifteen-quart stockpot, and set over the highest heat. Put one of those petal-shaped steaming racks or similar device into the water to keep the lobster pieces from boiling instead of steaming. When the water is furiously boiling, put in the lobster pieces, cover, lower the heat a bit, and steam for ten minutes. (Subtract any time that you’ve steamed the whole lobsters if you were too squeamish to cut them in half, alive.) Quickly remove the lobster with a pair of tongs, let cool for a few minutes, and remove the meat from the shells. Store the lobster meat in a plastic bag in the refrigerator and discard the shells. For the Souffle 1. Preheat the oven to 400 dg. F. Butter the souffle dishes. 2. Cut the lobster meat into neat ¼-inch cubes. In a one-quart bowl, mix the lobster, the truffle (or mushroom), and the tarragon. Remove and reserve about half the mixture in a small bowl, then cover and refrigerate. 3. Rub and scrape the reserved roe through a sieve. Whisk it smooth with two tablespoons of softened butter. 4. Over medium heat, reduce the jus to two cups. Lower the heat, whisk in the roe-butter mixture, and at a bare simmer, cook until the roe is completely incorporated and has lent its coral color to the liquid. Remove from the heat. This is the sauce. 5. Remove one scant cup of the sauce and mix it with the lobster meat and mushrooms in the one-quart bowl. 6. To make the bechamel, melt the 2 1/2 tablespoons of butter in a two- to three-quart saucepan over medium heat, and add the flour. Cook, stirring constantly, for between three and five minutes, until the flour glistens as the butter separates but before the flour colors. Gradually whisk in the hot milk, at first a tablespoon at a time, then in larger volumes. Cook over low heat, stirring, for 15 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes. Whisk in the egg yolks and the lobster-truffle-jus mixture (which is still sitting in that one-quart bowl). Add 20 crushed tarragon leaves, salt to taste, and lots of fresh pepper. This is the souffle base. It will be mixed with the mounted eggwhites and so can stand lots of salt and pepper. 7. Whisk, by hand or with a mixer, the egg whites until they begin to foam. Add a good pinch of salt and the cream of tartar. Whisk more vigorously until the egg whites form firm peaks. Stir about one-fourth of them into the souffle base. Delicately fold this mixture back into the eggwhites. Pour and scrape into the two buttered one-quart souffle dishes. Smooth the top of the souffle mixture, which should come to the rim. Run your thumb all around the inside of the rim to create a three-quarter-inch-wide-and-deep moat, ditch, or channel. This will create the “top-hat effect.” 8. Bake the souffle in the preheated, 400 dg. F. oven for twenty minutes. The souffles are done when a thin knife slid into its center of one of them (and removed) shows that the souffle is quite moist near the bottom (though not completely liquid) and quite dry in its upper third. 9. When the souffle is nearly done, heat the sauce but do not boil it. As soon as you take the souffles from the oven, present them to your guests. Then with a large serving spoon and fork, pry apart an opening in the center of the crusts and extend the hole down nearly to the bottom of the souffles. Pour in one-four of the sauce into each, then divide the souffles among your guests. Spoon additional sauce over each serving. Keywords: French, Fish, Seafood ( RG806 )
  14. Steingarten's Julia Child/Jacques Pepin Lobster Souffle Serves 8 as Appetizeror 4 as Main Dish. 4 lobsters, each 1 1/2 pounds, preferable female 6 T extra-virgin olive oil 1 medium onion (about 2 1/2 inches in diameter), peeled and chopped medium-fine 1/2 carrot, chopped medium-fine 1 large rib celery, chopped medium-fine 3 medium tomatoes, cored and chopped into half-inch pieces 2 heads of garlic, each cut in half crosswise but left unpeeled 2 T tomato paste 1 tsp fennel seeds, lightly crushed 1 c of cognac 2 generous cups dry white wine 8 c of salt-free chicken broth 4 slices lemon 1 large basil stem salt and pepper 3 T butter for the bechamel, plus 2 Tbs. softened butter for the roe, plus 1 Tbs. for buttering the souffle dish 2 c heavy cream 4 T all-purpose flour 1-1/3 c milk ¾ tsp. salt ½ tsp. white pepper 4 eggs yolks 8 egg whites 2 T grated Parmesan For The Lobster and Lobster Jus 1. The day before you make the soufflé: Put the lobsters in paper bags in the freezer for a half-hour. Take out one, place it on the counter shell up (and feelers down) with the eyes facing towards you. Place the point of a heavy knife or cleaver where the large, rounded body shell (carapace) meets the tail, and drive the point into the shell as you forcefully bring the knife down and towards you, splitting the upper half of the lobster in one swift motion. Yes, you can do it! Repeat with the other lobsters. (This procedure is probably the most humane way of killing a lobster, especially if you halve the tail at the same time. To do this you would use a longer knife and start instead at the head. Lobster lack centralized brains; halving them in one stroke cuts through all eight ganglia. But in this recipe, we do not want to cut the tail and its shell in half.) 2. (If you wish to postpone the day when you master the method in the previous paragraphs, simply steam the whole lobsters in a large stockpot as described below, but only until they stop moving and turn at least partially red.)Wait until the lobsters stop moving before proceeding. Twist off the tails and claws (leaving behind the joints or knuckles—the arm sections of the claws) and put them in one or more plastic bags. Refrigerate. Collect in a bowl all juices that emerge from the lobsters, now and after steaming. 3. Prepare the halved lobster bodies one at a time. Behind the eyes and continuing an inch or so back, right under the top edge of the shell, just where you’ve split it, is the translucent stomach sac. You may have cut it in half or pushed it entirely to one side of the body or the other when you split it. Pry it out with your fingers and discard. The light green or tan creamy material vaguely in the center is the tomalley, the liver—just leave it where it is. The dark green shiny stuff in female lobsters is the roe or coral (so named because it turns a brilliant coral color when you cook it). With a spoon, remove every last bit of the dark green roe and save it in a bowl. It is indispensible. 4. Chop the lobster shells, arms, joints, legs, and so forth into one-inch pieces. This is messy, too. In a heavy eight-quart saucepan or casserole set over a medium-high flame, heat four tablespoons of the olive oil and cook the chopped lobster shells, arm joints, and legs, and any available scraps of lobster meat in it, until the shells take on a roasted aroma and color, 10 to 15 minutes. While they are cooking, alternately stir them and, with a large stone or wooden pestle, crush them further. 5. Meanwhile, heat the two remaining tablespoons of olive oil in a four-quart saucepan, add the onions, carrot, celery, and garlic, stir, lower the heat to medium-low, and cook until they have become translucent but have not taken on color. Add the tomato paste and and cook for about ten minutes. 6. Scrape the vegetables and their liquid into the heavy pan in which you cooked the lobster shells and mix together. Add the fennel seeds. Pour in the cognac and turn the heat to medium-high. If the cognac is of high quality, just cook it down until only a few tablespoons are left; if not, ignite it as soon as it begins to bubble and, shaking the pan, let it nearly boil away. Add the white wine and reduce by half, stirring occasionally. Add the chicken stock and cook, partly covered, at a strong bubble, for twenty-five minutes. (As most recipes for fish brother will tell you, cooking for longer than this will produce a bitter taste. That’s what Didier says, too.) Remove from the heat. 7. Using a pair of tongs, discard any large pieces of shell. Strain the rest through a fine sieve—a conical chinoise is ideal—into a two-quart saucepan, pressing the pieces of shell and vegetables to squeeze out every drop of lobster jus. Lay the lemon and basil on the surface, allow to steep for fifteen minutes, and remove them. Add a quarter cup of liquid you’ve collected from the lobster bodies. Remember? (The sand should have gone to the bottom of the bowl; otherwise, first strain the lobster liquid through the finest mesh.) 8. Reduce the jus to 3 cups. Add fresh black pepper to taste and, if it is necessary, salt. Refrigerate overnight. 9. Meanwhile, steam the four lobster tails and eight claws you’ve stored in the refrigerator: Pour an inch or so of water into the bottom of a twelve- to fifteen-quart stockpot, and set over the highest heat. Put one of those petal-shaped steaming racks or similar device into the water to keep the lobster pieces from boiling instead of steaming. When the water is furiously boiling, put in the lobster pieces, cover, lower the heat a bit, and steam for ten minutes. (Subtract any time that you’ve steamed the whole lobsters if you were too squeamish to cut them in half, alive.) Quickly remove the lobster with a pair of tongs, let cool for a few minutes, and remove the meat from the shells. Store the lobster meat in a plastic bag in the refrigerator and discard the shells. For the Souffle 1. Wrap these lobster piece in a sheet of aluminum foil and return it to the refrigerator. 2. Rub and scrape the reserved roe through a sieve. Whisk it smooth with two tablespoons of softened butter. 3. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter the gratin dish. 4. To make the sauce: In a two-quart saucepan over medium-high heat, reduce the cream by half. Add the jus, and bring to a simmer. Lower the heat and whisk in the roe-butter mixture. Cook without boiling for a few minutes until the roe is incorporated and colors the sauce pink. Remove from the heat. Taste and add salt and fresh pepper, if you think they would improve the situation. 5. To prepare the souffle base: Melt the butter in a two- to three-quart saucepan over medium-low heat, and add the flour. Cook, stirring constantly, for five minutes, to cook the flour, which has been accomplished when the flour glistens as the butter separates; the flour must not color. Add the milk all at once, bring to a boil, stirring, and cook for ten seconds. (This is Jacques’s astoundingly simple method.) Remove from the heat and let cool for a few minutes. Whisk in the egg yolks and the grated Parmesan. 6. Making and baking the souffle: Whisk (by hand or in a mixer) the egg whites until they begin to foam. Add a good pinch of salt and the cream of tartar. Whisk more vigorously until the egg whites form firm peaks. Stir about one-fourth of them into the souffle base. Delicately fold this mixture back into the eggwhites. Pour and scrape into the gratin dish and smooth the top, which should come to the rim. 7. Put into the preheated oven and bake for about twenty-five minutes. It is done when a thin knife slid into its center comes out nearly clean except perhaps at the point. This is not a liquid souffle. When the souffle has about ten minutes left to cook, put the aluminum foil packet of lobster meat into the oven with it. Warm eight wide soup bowls or deep dinner plates. When the souffle is nearly done, gently reheat the sauce—without boiling it. 8. To serve, distribute the lobster meat equitably among the eight soup bowls. Pour a scant quarter-cup over each portion. Set ample servings of souffle over the lobster, then pour a few tablespoons of sauce over the souffle. Pass the rest of the sauce. Keywords: French, Fish, Seafood ( RG805 )
×