Christmas and New Year’s celebrations wouldn’t be the same without shellfish and crustaceans. In a previous blog post, we zoomed in on oysters and how to select them. But a Christmas menu without lobster is also unimaginable. Cooking lobsters while they’re still alive causes a lot of stress, both for the animal and inexperienced kitchen staff. Find out here how to cook lobsters in a more humane way. And how to surprise your guests with creative preparations of the classic lobster.

Choosing your ingredients for Christmas and New Year menus carefully is very important. But so is the method of preparation, as it can make or break the quality of the final product. Live lobsters are often dropped into boiling water. You can taste that stress in the lobster meat. Splitting the lobster head seems more humane. Wrong! Its brain is very branched so the lobster continues to live for a while... For this dish we anaesthetise the lobster with clove oil before we start cooking. A good start for a better result. This creative exercise will surely inspire you!

Recipe: Lobster with Fregula pasta, coconut ricotta and carrot bolognese

A very special creation with the pre-eminent holiday animal, lobster, home-made ricotta and coconut (which will be making a comeback in 2018!). For this recipe, we will be using four special techniques: the hang-up technique (ricotta), fermenting and smoking with smoking chips (carrot) and infusing in a vacuum (garam masala infusion).

Lobster

Ingredients

  • 10 lobsters, 4/5
  • 10 l ice water
  • 1 kg ice cubes
  • 300 g salt
  • 10 ml clove oil, ethereal
  • 90 ml alcohol, 96%

Tip!

Cooking lobster while it’s alive: a humane cooking method

Dropping live lobsters in boiling water results in lots of stress. So instead, anaesthetise the lobsters first with clove oil (the active chemical is eugenol) to ensure optimal flavour.


Preparation

1. Mix together the water, salt and ice cubes. This mixture imitates the lobster's natural environment. The salt also pickles the lobster meat slightly. As a result, fewer proteins stick to it after cooking.
2. Place the lobsters in this mixture for 1 hour. Mix the clove oil and alcohol with the hand mixer. Use an injection needle to inject 10 ml of the mixture (not more!) into the water and mix well. After 15 minutes of thrashing around, the lobsters will be in a deep narcosis.
3. Boil the lobsters in salted water for 4 minutes. Remove the legs and continue to cook for at least 3 more minutes.
4. Allow the lobster meat to cool in a cold court bouillon. The meat will absorb some liquid while cooling off. This adds to the flavour.
5. Clean the lobster and reserve the carcases for soup or sauces.

Seaweed butter

Ingredients

Preparation

1. Mix the green algae and salt with the Debic Roast & Fry.
2. Vacuum pack and allow to infuse for one hour at 65°C.
3. Mix with the Debic Butter Crème.

Coconut Ricotta

Ingredients

Preparation

1. Make a cold infusion of 1 litre buttermilk, 100 grams of browned coconut flakes and 1 gram of salt. Allow to infuse for 3 hours then pass through a fine sieve.
2. Heat the milk to 85°C (stirring constantly) until it starts to coagulate. Stop stirring and add 200 ml unsweetened Debic Cream 35% and 50 ml lemon juice.
3. Heat back up to 85°C then leave to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
4. Place 2 layers of moistened cheesecloth in a round cutter. Using a skimmer, scoop the ricotta out of the whey and transfer it to the cheesecloth. Allow the ricotta to drain for 3 hours in the cold storage.
5. The ricotta can be kept in cold storage for 2 to 3 days.

Dried bunched carrots

Ingredients

  • 20 bunched carrots, organic
  • 10 ml olive oil
  • 1 g salt
  • 100 g smoking chips

Preparation

1. Peel the carrots and vacuum pack them together with 0.1% of their total weight in salt. Cook at 90°C for 60 minutes.
2. Heat the barbecue and place the smoking chips in a stainless steel tray directly on the coals.
3. Rub the carrots with olive oil and smoke for 10 minutes on a stone.
4. Dry the carrots in the airing cupboard at 60°C for 2 hours. Store in the refrigerator.

Carrot bolognese

Ingredients

  • 300 g Fregula pasta (pearl-shaped)
  • 100 ml lobster stock
  • 1 kg winter carrot
  • 20 g salt
  • 1 g xanthan gum
  • 50 g blanched celery
  • 20 g shallots
  • 100 ml Debic Roast & Fry
  • 10 g tarragon
  • 10 g flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 g lactic bacteria

Preparation

1. Peel the winter carrot and cut into equal pieces.
2. Cook the carrots until al dente, then allow to cool.
3. Boil the water with the salt, then allow to cool.
4. Mix with the lactic bacteria. Allow the carrot to ferment in this mixture at room temperature for a week. The carrots will develop a fruity-vinegary aroma and flavour that leans towards those of a tomato.
5. Puree the carrots, mix with 100 ml of the fermentation liquid and thicken with 1% xanthan gum.
6. Cut the celery into small cubes and sweat them in Debic Roast & Fry together with the chopped shallot.
7. Boil the pasta for 8 minutes in salted water.
8. Add the lobster stock and the cooked pasta to the celery/shallots. Allow the pasta to absorb the sauce.
9. Now add the fermented carrot juice together with the finely-chopped parsley and tarragon.

Garam masala infusion

Ingredients

Preparation

1. Mix the salt, garam masala and Debic Roast & Fry.
2. Vacuum pack and allow to infuse for one hour at 65°C.
3. Pass through a cheesecloth, then set aside.

Garnish

Ingredients

  • 20 g fresh nori
  • 10 ml olive oil
  • 5 ml sushi vinegar
  • 1 g salt

Finish

1. Mix the coconut ricotta with Debic Cream 35% and coconut milk. Season with salt.
2. Season the fresh nori with olive oil, sushi vinegar and salt.
3. Heat up the lobster in the seaweed butter.
4. Place some carrot bolognese in the middle of the plate.
5. Pat the lobster dry, season with some coarse sea salt and place it on the plate.
6. Place the dried carrot on the plate.
7. Garnish with coconut ricotta, garam masala infusion and nori seaweed.

How about an oriental-inspired lobster salad ? Discover the recipe by Ivan Verhelle from Japanese restaurant Tanuki.

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