1 live hen lobster weighing 1kg (2¼lb) for a main course or 350–400g (12–14oz) for a first course
70g (2¾oz) butter
½carrot, cut into small dice
¾bottlered Burgundy, preferably Pommard, at least four years old
bouquet garni made up of 2parsley sprigs, a small piece of celery, ½bayleaf and asprig of thyme
8 small button onions, peeled
pinch of icing sugar
10 small white button mushrooms
chopped parsley for garnish
Despatch the lobster in the way recommended. Chop the tail part into six pieces and crush the claws lightly. Reserve the coral and creamy parts of the head, being careful to remove the sac, which should be clearly visible.
Season the pieces of lobster with salt and pepper and sauté rapidly in 2tablespoons very hot oil. When the shells have turned a fiery red remove the pieces of lobster with a slotted spoon and keep on one side.
Put the pan back on the heat and add 25g (1oz) butter, the chopped shallots and diced carrot. Stir around gently, then put in the lobster pieces. Pour in the cognac and set it alight. When the flames have died down add the Burgundy and the bouquet garni. Season with salt and pepper and cover, simmer very gently over a low heat for 15 minutes.
Cook the little onions in a small saucepan with alittle water, a nut of butter, salt and a pinch of icing sugar. They should brown without burning, the time will vary according to the size and age of the onions, so test them with a skewer or the point of a knife.
Sauté the mushrooms in a frying-pan with a nut of butter until golden and then drain them.
Put 50g (1¾oz) butter, the flour, and the coral and creamy head-parts of the lobster together in a bowl and work them to a smooth paste with a fork. This mixture will serve as the liaison for the sauce.
When the lobster is cooked (3), shell the pieces completely. Meanwhile reduce the cooking liquid by half. Arrange the lobster meat in two deep plates and strew with the little onions (4) and the mushrooms (5). Keep hot.
When the cooking liquid has reduced to half, lower the heat and, whisking all the time, incorporate enough of the liaison (6) to thicken the sauce to the right consistency. Taste and add a little salt if necessary, and three or four turns of the pepper-mill. Strain over the lobster, decorate with a pinch of chopped parsley and serve very hot.