Lobster Casserole with Truffle and Lumaconi

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Cooking requires freedom. I do not like dogma because it freezes tradition into a process of sterile repetition. I am even less fond of the confusion arising from chaotic combinations. Wonderful product is available everywhere and talent is the world’s most evenly distributed asset. In this recipe, the Atlantic lobster and Mediterranean lumaconi pasta shells form a harmonious association. Freedom, in this case, was to arrange their meeting.

Preparation time: 40 minutes
Cooking time: 35 minutes

Ingredients

  • 15 black peppercorns
  • 1 bunch fennel stalks
  • ½ head garlic
  • 2 ½ tsp (10 g) coarse salt
  • 1 star anise
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 4 Brittany lobsters, 1 lb 2 oz (500 g) each
  • 3 tbsp (45 ml) olive oil
  • 3 tbsp (45 g) butter
  • 4 cups (1 L) lobster fumet*
  • 3 ½ oz (100 g) black truffle
  • 20 lumaconi pasta shells
  • 20 confit* tomato petals
  • Fleur de sel (sea salt crystals)
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Sealing Pastry

  • 1 ¾ cups or 7 oz (200 g) cake/pastry flour
  • ½ tsp (3 g) salt
  • 2 ¾ oz (80 g) creamed butter*
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 egg yolk, beaten for glazing

Lobster Butter

  • 10 tbsp or 5 ¼ oz (150 g) creamed butter
  • Roe of 4 lobsters
  • bunch fresh basil

Method

Prepare and cook the lobsters

Heat a large saucepan of water; add the peppercorns, fennel, garlic, coarse salt, star anise, and thyme. Simmer gently for 10 minutes.

Twist off the lobster claws at the joint near the head. Separate the heads from the tails. Insert a trussing needle into each tail to keep it straight while cooking.

Bring the water in the saucepan to a boil. Carefully slide the claws into the boiling water and cook for 2 minutes. Then add the tails and continue cooking for another 3 minutes. Refresh immediately in a bowl of iced water to stop the cooking.

In this recipe, the lobster heads are not cooked so that the roe remains raw.

Separate the claws at the first joint. Shell the claws, and “arm” them, removing the coagulated parts using a paring knife. Turn the tail over and use scissors to carefully remove the fine membrane. Cut the tails into even sections and set aside* at room temperature.

Heat a little olive oil in a pan, and sear* the pincers, elbows, and tail sections for 3 minutes. Add a teaspoon of butter at the end of the cooking.

Transfer the lobster pieces to a rack.

Discard the cooking fat in the pan, then Deglaze* with a little lobster fumet. Strain the lobster deglazing jus, and set it aside for later use.

Use female lobsters, as they have the most roe. You will be able to recognize a female because the first pair of swimmerets on the underside of the tail is soft and feathery.

Julienne* the truffle. Heat the remaining butter and a little olive oil in a pan; add the truffle and gently sauté for 2 to 3 minutes. Then, add the pasta and gently sauté over low heat. Moisten* with the remaining lobster fumet, cover and cook over low heat until al dente, then glaze*.

Finish and presentation

Reduce* the lobster deglazing juices by half. Add the confit tomato petals, and cook for several seconds. Bind* the sauce with a little butter. Season with salt and pepper, divide the pasta evenly between 4 casseroles with lids, then add the lobster.

Prepare the Sealing Pastry

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Combine the flour and salt, add the creamed butter, egg, and vinegar, and mix again. Roll out the dough to form a long ribbon 1/10 inch (2 mm) thick. Sprinkle lightly with a little water so that it will stick. Seal the casserole.

Brush the dough with beaten egg yolk and bake in the oven for 4 to 5 minutes.

Prepare the Lobster Butter

Mix the creamed butter with the lobster roe to obtain a smooth paste.

Set aside at room temperature.

Use a mortar and pestle to crush the basil leaves and bind* with the lobster butter. Serve the lobster in the casseroles.

This type of dough is used to hermetically seal the cover of a casserole, enabling its ingredients to cook in their own juices without losing flavor or evaporating.

Drink Pairing

One of the exceptional Burgundies, such as a white Corton-Charlemagne grand cru.

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