Lobster with Fresh White Cannellini Beans

At my rented villa in Chiesanuova, I often cook the best things I find at the main market in Florence. One especially good day yielded fresh cannellini beans already shucked, cipollini onions already peeled, salted fat belly from wild boar, and flowering sage. I added garlic, olive oil, and black pepper, and we ate one of the best meals I have ever tasted.

A few months later in Galicia (northwestern Spain), I had a similar dish, minus the wild boar, but packed with lobster and lobster sauce. We swooned.

Ingredients

  • 1 3-pound Maine lobster
  • 2 cups shucked fresh white cannellini beans
  • 12 cipollini onions, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups fish or shellfish stock
  • ¼ cup fresh tarragon leaves Salt
  • ½ cup lobster butter

Method

Cook the lobsters as in Method 1. Then follow the directions for removing the lobster meat, cutting the lobster meat into chunks, but keeping the claws intact. Reserve any juices and coral, and mix them with the lobster butter.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Put the onions, butter, stock, tarragon, and a pinch of salt in a casserole, cover, and cook over low heat for 10 minutes. Put the beans in a sieve and immerse them in boiling salted water for 5 minutes. Let them drain for a minute, and while still hot, add the beans to the onions, cover the casserole, and continue cooking another 10 minutes or until the beans are just tender. Take off the heat and stir in the lobster butter and the lobster meat without the claws. Season.

Put all of the bean-onion-lobster mix in a large 2-inch-deep oven-proof gratin dish. Put the claws in the center, and bake for 5 to 10 minutes, just until the lobster meat is heated through.

Variations

Instead of the lobster, my personal favorite would be blood sausage grilled until crisp, sliced into 1-inch pieces, and tossed into the beans with a cup of cooked fresh fava beans and a tablespoon of red chili flakes. Try that on a winter night! Chicken wings, boned Chinese “drumstick” style and then curried (use the Indian spice mix), would also be very good.