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Astounding lobster with vin jaune

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Astounding lobster with vin jaune

carswell | Jun 1, 2008 08:31 PM

Prepared one of the most delicious lobster dishes I've ever eaten last night. Fiesty and fresh local lobsters are in season here. And I was cooking with a good friend, a gastronome originally from the Jura (home of vin jaune), who loves lobster but rarely eats it because his seafood-loving partner has developed an shellfish allergy and he doesn't want to rub it in. But partner was out of town for a conference, so we decided to pull out the stops.

The preparation method comes from Alain Passard of Paris's L'Arpège. His recipe (in French) in French can be found on the web -- www.alain-passard.com/fr/20/11-aiguil... -- while a less pricey adaptation (using fino sherry and olive oil with a little honey to round it out) can be found in *Patricia Wells at Home in Provence*. We consulted both and made a few changes of own. Despite the lengthy description, it was really quite easy to make.

For 2 persons, start with 2 small lobsters, about 1 lb. each. Bring a pot of water to boil, add salt and then the lobsters. (For the fanciest presentation, tie a long metal spoon to the underside of each lobster's tail before boiling to prevent the tail from curling.) Simmer for 4 minutes. Remove the lobsters from the water and let cool for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425ºF.

Pour a generous 1 cup vin jaune into an ovenproof oval Dutch oven or turkey roaster. Place the lobsters (with spoons still attached) into the pot. Cover and cook for 10 minutes. Transfer the lobsters to a cutting board. Strain the cooking juices into a small saucepan. Turn the oven down to 325ºF.

Carve the lobsters and remove the sand sack, tomalley and coral, if any. (Freeze the tomalley and coral for another use.) For the simplest presentation, simply split the lobsters lengthwise. For the fanciest presentation, twist the large claws off, crack them and extract the meat, preferably in one piece, then carefully detach the tail from the torso, remove the spoon, cut the tail in half lengthwise and each half in half lengthwise again. Leave the tail meat attached to the shell.

About 5 minutes before serving, moisten the lobster meat with 1 or 2 spoonfuls of the cooking juices and reheat in the turned-off oven.

Add a scant 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger to the cooking juices. Bring to a simmer. Off the heat, mount the sauce by whisking in cold pieces of butter (we probably used 3 tablespoons). Add salt if necessary. Whisk in hazelnut oil to taste (we probably used about 2 tablespoons) and, to soften the texture, a tablespoon of crème fraîche.

Plate the lobsters, spoon some of the sauce over and around them. Serve with sautéed chanterelles and any remaining the sauce on the side.

The combination of lobster and the nutty vin jaune sauce was magical. We drank the remainder of the bottle of vin jaune with the dish; it certainly worked but was perhaps a little too powerful for the delicate sauce. A better choice might have been another Jura white, one of the fine, slightly oxidized Chardonnays or more subtle Savagnins.

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