BRETON BLUE LOBSTER IN BISQUE SAUCE
1 blue lobster (alive), about 800 g / 1 ¾ pounds (or Maine lobster) 2 tablespoons olive oil
2 shallots, chopped 1 medium carrot, cut in half
2 garlic cloves, chopped 1 teaspoon tomato paste
1 medium sprig of fresh thyme 1 bay leaf
15 g parsley / 0.5 ounces 400 g / 14 ounces peeled tomatoes
200 ml / ¾ cup and 1 tablespoon sweet white wine 1 teaspoon ground Piment d’Espelette
400 ml / 1 ⅔ cups sour cream Sea salt
Ground black pepper Parsley for serving
- For the lobster, fill a tall pot or cocotte (large enough to fit the whole lobster) 3/4 full with water. Bring to a rapid boil and salt generously. Insert a knife into the head of the lobster, and quickly drop the lobster head first into the boiling water. Cover the pot and bring it back to a boil. Cook for about 10 -12 minutes. Remove the lobster from the water and transfer it to a cutting board. Let it cool for a few minutes, then twist the claws of the body. Using lobster tongs or scissors, gently crack the claw shell, pull out the meat, and set aside. Hold the lobster’s body with one hand and the tail with your other hand, bend the tailback and separate it from the body. Remove and discard the green tomalley (liver). If it’s a female lobster, scrape out the red coral (roe) and set it aside. Push and pull the meat out of the shell. Using a sharp knife, remove the digestive vein from the tail meat and rinse briefly. Set all the meat and shells aside.
- Peel and chop the shallots. Peel and chop the carrot. Peel and chop the garlic cloves.
- In a medium pot or cocotte, heat half the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the shallots, carrot, and garlic, and sauté for about 1 minute.
- Stir in the thyme, bay leaf, parsley, lobster shells, and tomato paste, and cook for about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and wine and season with Piment d’Espelette, salt, and pepper to taste. Cover and cook over medium heat for about 20 minutes. Lower the heat and stir in the sour cream and reserved roe, should you have had a female lobster.
- Pass the lobster vegetable mixture through a fine sieve into a saucepan. Using a large spoon, push and squeeze the juices out as much as possible, making sure to save the head and tail of the lobster for plating. Return the saucepot to low heat and reduce the sauce if you prefer it a bit thicker.
- In a large pan, heat the remaining olive oil over medium-high heat and sauté the lobster meat for about 1 minute on each side, season with a pinch of Piment d’Espelette. Rinse the head and tail of the lobster thoroughly. Serve the lobster drizzled with bisque sauce, parsley, and Piment d’Espelette and garnished with the shell.