Shedders

There is never a worthy apology or good enough excuse for an absence in the blogging world. 
Nevertheless, here’s mine:

If a picture’s worth a thousand words, than this one is worth a million! Here are my baby corgis, Lady Bird and Dutch, on the eve of their 6 month birthday. They are packed and prepared for their first trip to the fern-filled coast of Maine, and can you tell what they’re most excited about? What can I say, like mother, like pup…

All that’s missing is the drawn butter…

With the smell of sweet succulent lobster and wood burning fires in the air, Maine in the Fall is a leaf-peeper’s paradise: mountain after mole-hill of turning tree-tops and electric striated sunsets that seem to stretch the entire length of the sky. Maine is simply magical this time of year.

It’s enough to make you wonder why Vermont gets all the fall foliage attention. But shhh… let’s try to keep Maine our little secret.

La Famille

I’m sure you’d agree that whether I spend this fall weekend in Maine or Manhattan savoring the season’s last shedders, while sitting fireside with shedders of another kind, is a must. Can you think of a better way to toast TSM’s return to the virtual food world?

Showing off in hopes of leftovers…

So should you want to send summer’s on it’s way once and for all, and welcome the wonders of fall like we plan to- make my luscious Lobster n’ Love risotto recipe… and thank me later.

Classic aborio rice becomes rich and creamy as it cooks slowly in champagne, and comes alive when hit with the bright flavors of vanilla bean and tarragon. Pink lobster tails glisten, hugged in a butter and fish stock sauce, shinning like the solstice moon resting in a bed of silky sky… or rather a bed of short grain rice.

Lobster on the menu itself signifies a celebration, but whether you’re cooking for someone special, or just because you’re feeling special, my Butter-Poached Lobster in Vanilla Champagne Risotto is a puppy-approved party must-have!

And it’s this Corgi-lovin cook’s must-make welcome back meal…

My family of shedders in Maine

Lobster n’ Love
Butter Poached Lobster with Vanilla Champagne Risotto

Serves 2

Ingredients

For the Lobster:
3 Lobster tails, cooked or frozen, thawed (at this time of year you should have lobsters with sweeter meat who have shrunk a bit in their shells, otherwise known as Shedders)
1 container fish (seafood) stock
2 knobs unsalted butter
salt and pepper

For the Risotto:
2 cups arborio rice
1 large shallot minced
1/4 leek, white and pale green parts finely sliced
1 container low sodium chicken stock
1/2-3/4 cup bubbly (champagne, prosecco, or sparkling wine will work just fine)
1 Bay leaf
2 tsp fresh Thyme leaves
handful of fresh Tarragon leaves (more to garnish)
salt and pepper
1 knob unsalted butter
1/2-3/4 cup grated parmesan optional

Method
1. Heat 1 lidded pot with the chicken stock, and 1 lidded sauce pot with the fish stock on low on back burners.
2. Place thawed lobster tails into the fish stock and cook at a slow simmer for 8-10 minutes depending on the tail size until the lobster meat is JUST cooked. Using tongs, immediately remove the lobster tails to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking and reserve. *If you have cooked lobster tails skip this step*

3. Heat a large sortoir, or dutch oven on medium-high heat on a front burner added 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the leeks and stir for 2 minutes lowering the heat if necessary to slowly soften the leeks with out caramelizes or burning them. Then add the shallots and season gently with salt and pepper. Let soften for a few minutes.
4. Add the arborio rice to the pan and stir to “toast” the rice. Season with salt and pepper, add the bay leaf, and allow the rice to cook until you hear it “singing” or sizzling. This will take 2-3 minutes but listen as the rice will tell you when it is ready.
5. Pour in the bubbly, deglazing the pan by using a wooden spoon to scrape up and stir the bottom of the pan. Let the bubbly burn off and reduce till very little is left and using a ladle, add 2 ladles full of the hot chicken stock to the rice. Season gently and stir a few times. Allow the rice to soak up the liquid gently and slowly, stirring frequently.
6. Continue to add ladles of stock as the liquid is absorbed being sure to season gingerly with salt and pepper at each addition of stock. Continue to do this until the rice is al dente (soft with just a touch of bite in the center). Depending on your burner heat, this could take 20-30 minutes to reach.
7. While the risotto comes together, remove the tails from the ice bath, and crack the shells gently, releasing the soft underside of the tail. Take kitchen shears and carefully cut the underside of the tail shell lengthwise to allow the tail meat to pop out of the shell whole.
8. Slice the tail meat lengthwise creating 4 slices, reserve the outer 2 slices and roughly cube or cut up the middle pieces. Reserve till right before serving.
9. When the risotto has reached al dente, make sure the seasoning is correct and that the consistency of the liquid/sauce is correct (you want risotto to be soft and shapeless enough that it spreads when placed in a shallow dish, not run and not clump up and hold its shape like puree. When you get the consistency you like, stir in the thyme leaves and knob of butter. Cut the heat, and add the cheese if using. Then add the Tarragon leaves and place on a lid to keep warm while you finish the lobster.
10. In a small pan, add the 2 knobs of butter, a dash of oil, and a splash or two of the fish stock. Heat it fairly quickly and add the lobster chunks tossing it with salt and pepper allowing it to warm and absorb the flavors. Add the cubes to the risotto, and repeat with the lobster slices, being sure to gently warm them so they keep shape.
11. Place 2 ladles full of hot risotto on each serving dish, making sure each portion has enough lobster cubes and tarragon. Place 2-3 lobster tail slices (pink side up) interlocking on top of the risotto to gain height and color. Garnish with a picked sprig of tarragon leaves and serve immediately, as risotto, like soufflé, waits for no one…

Here’s to Sundays, shedders, and sleepers…

Love,

Darcy Jones

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