1small leekor just a few green leaves of the top of a leek, roughly chopped
1medium sized carrotpeeled and roughly chopped
1small yellow onionpeeled and roughly diced
2clovesof garlicroughly chopped
½cupdry sherryyou can substitute white wine in a pinch
1small dried bay leaf
For assembling and plating the dish
Kosher saltto taste
2ouncessmallest possible yellow foot chanterellesred chanterelles, golden chanterelles or fairy ring mushrooms
1heaping cup seeded and peeled tomatoesroughly chopped (you can use high quality canned tomatoes too)
Flavorless oilas needed, for sauteing
4ouncesunsalted butterplus 1 tablespoon
Fresh chivesto garnish (optional)
Dandelion-spinach puree (recipe follows)
Break down the lobsters
If you like, have bowl ready to save all the juice that comes out from the lobster bodies to add it to the stock, since it adds natural salt and flavor.
To dispatch live lobsters, hold each lobster by the tail so they don't pinch you, place the lobsters on a stable cutting board, with a bowl or container handy to catch their juice. Kill the lobsters by plunging a sharp chefs knife in the head and cutting the head in two. I made a hilarious video of dispatching a lobster on you tube, here's a link (the comments are worth the visit alone).
Using a kitchen shears, remove the halves of the head, then remove the claws. Crack the claws with a mallet or the back of a chef's knife, remove the meat and reserve.
For the tails, lay the lobster tail on it's back so it's underbelly faces up. Cut down the middle of the belly shell with your kitchen shears to expose the meat. Remove the lobster tail meat and combine with the claw meat and chill. Reserve the shells separately.
The lobster stock reduction (can be done in advance if you purchase lobster shells)
Place all of the shells into a sturdy pot or similar container.
Pound the shells vigorously with a blunt object like a meat mallet until they're well pulverized.
Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a stock pot, then add the pounded lobster shells, carrots, onion, leeks, and celery and cook for 5-10 minutes on medium heat, stirring occasionally. Add the tomato paste and paprika, stir, and cook for 5 minutes more. Add the sherry or wine to the pan and cook for 2 minutes more. Add enough cold water to cover all the shells and vegetables, then cook the mixture for 1.5 hours at a gentle simmer.
Strain the mixture through a fine chinois or cheesecloth to remove any possible grit, then transfer the stock to a wide pan and reduce the stock gently until roughly 1 cup of liquid remains, this will take an hour or more depending on your pan. (PRO TIP: the wider your saucepan, the quicker the evaporation will be).
Add the tomatoes to the pan, cook for 10 minutes on medium heat, then taste, it should be nice and lobster-y, if it isn't, reduce it a little longer. Transfer the mixture to a blender and add the 4 ounces of cold unsalted butter. Puree the sauce on high, then transfer to a sauce pan and reserve. Double check the seasoning for salt and adjust as needed.
Cooking the lobster and plating the dish
Heat 1 tablespoon of the butter in a saute pan, add the mushrooms and cook until caramelized and lightly browned. Add the lobster/butter sauce and cook, making sure to whisk it occasionally, which keeps it creamy and prevents it from breaking. Reduce the sauce gently, whisking as needed until it lightly coats the back of a spoon. Double check the seasoning and keep the mushroom-lobster sauce warm.
Meanwhile, Heat 2 tablespoons of oil and the butter in a saute pan. Dry the lobster tails, and claw meat if using then season lightly with salt and white pepper and fry in the oil and butter until just cooked through.
Place two tablespoons or so of spinach puree into each of 4 preheated, wide dinner bowls (also known as coupes) or small soup bowls with a flat bottoms, then spoon in a 2 tablespoons or so of lobster sauce and mushrooms. Arrange a lobster tail and some claw meat on top of each dollop of spinach puree, garnish with a few snipped chives and serve immediately.
Abbreviated recipe: crush a couple lobster bodies with a mallet, roast them and make a good stock then reduce the stock to 1 cup. Puree the stock with 1 cup of cooked tomato puree and in a blender with 4 ounces cold unsalted butter. Saute some small yellowfoot chanterelles or another mild, small mushroom, add the sauce, adjust the seasoning and serve with the lobster tail fried in butter and the thick dandelion-spinach puree recipe below, or just some sauteed spinach or even mashed frozen peas.
This is a dish designed to be part of a large multi-course meal. To make a light meal out of this, serve with some steamed rice alongside, a little saffron would be a nice touch in it.
You can substitute 5-6 grams dried mushrooms if fresh is not available. If you do, I would re-hydrate them in the lobster broth then remove, strain the broth and reduce, roughly chop the mushrooms and proceed with the directions under cooking and plating.