Lobster Night!

Yes that’s right! We ate like kings tonight. Here there is some lobster served with this amazing sauce (part mornay part something else chef whipped up) with rice and asparagus.

On Monday night chef warned us that tonight we would be cooking escargot, turtle, frog legs, lobster, mussels, scallops, veal kidneys — which translates to: WEIRD STUFF. He said that we probably wouldn’t be cooking at all, he would just be demoing. A lot. Great just great.

But then he changed his mind and the school didn’t get in the escargot and turtles. I decided to do lobster, since to be honest, I’ve been kind of obsessed with the process for a while now. Also I volunteered to make these duchess potatoes for the class.

Spent the beginning part of the class peeling (with some help) almost 5 pounds of potatoes (not fun at all). Based on the recipe, the potatoes seemed to be just fancy mashed potatoes, that instead of adding cream and butter to finish, you added egg yolk and butter and then baked off. Easy enough. For some reason, since I figured the potatoes would get baked anyways in people’s dishes, I completely disregarded the step in the recipe that told me to dry the potatoes briefly in the oven. Whoops…apparently this was key. Chef didn’t seem too upset since I admitted to him I didn’t do it because it seemed odd. After everyone had taken what they needed, I decided to mess around with the piping bag and star tip and make little potato balls with them. Didn’t get to take a picture of this because my little project turned into a snack for half the class.

With the lobster, we had half-dead whole lobsters and lobster tails. Learned that in order to cook (and kill) one correctly, you throw it in boiling water for 2-3 minutes and then reduce to a simmer for an additional 10. Its the boiling water that kills it. For the faint hearted, the middle fin can be twisted and pulled out, which instantly kills the lobster right before throwing it in that water. Also, if the water is too intensely boiling or the pot is too crowded, the lobsters totally freak out and start fighting each other. Some chefs find this amusing.

After that, we cracked the lobsters open, took out the meat and reserved the shells. Now this is where chef swooped in and took over the whole process. I had to pester him to get a chance to crack open the last lobster on my own. Once all the meat was removed, chef sauted some mushrooms with shallots, added the mornay sauce, whipped cream, salt, pepper, mustard seed, white wine, and finally the lobster meat. We put this back into the lobster shells. Topped off with some grated cheddar cheese (only cheese available) and you can see the final product above.

I pointed out at the end of the night, chef really couldn’t grade us on taste of our dish for the night, since strangely enough NOTHING on my final plate was made by me.

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