On top of the lobster

Cynthia
Cynthia Stone
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A friend’s recent 50th birthday turned into a great excuse to scarf the best thing to come out of the water in spring — lobster.

There’s not much you can do wrong to a lobster, except maybe vastly under- or overcook it, and there’s definitely nothing you can serve with it that wouldn’t taste great.

There are come-withs, however, that seem to have a natural affinity for the delectable sweet meat.

Compound Butter Dips for Lobster

Plain melted butter is just fine, but if you’re feeling frisky in the kitchen, maybe you’d like to try one of these combinations. They are all made pretty much the same way — soften the butter to room temperature and combine with the other ingredients, mixing and mashing with a fork until uniform in texture, or whizzed in the food processor for a few seconds.

Serve as a spread; melt it for dipping; or, to serve later, drop onto a length of plastic wrap and shape into a log, twisting the ends tightly.

Refrigerate or freeze until you want to serve it, then lay a coin-shaped slice on top of the lobster meat (or steak or chop or fish fillet), or melt and serve as a dip.

If you use unsalted butter, add 1/2 tsp. salt. You can omit the pepper in any of these if you prefer.

This quantity makes 4 generous individual dipping cups, but can easily be stretched to serve 8.

Tequila butter

1/2 cup softened butter

2 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced

2 tsp. tequila

1 tsp. lime juice

1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Parsley tarragon butter

1/2 cup softened butter

2 tbsp. each chopped fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley and chopped fresh tarragon

1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Lemon caper butter

1/2 cup softened butter

1 tbsp. capers, drained and minced

2 tsp. fresh lemon juice

1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest

1/4 tsp. white pepper

Garlic paprika butter

1/2 cup softened butter

1 or 2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp. smoked paprika

1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Shrimp butter

1/2 cup softened butter

1 small can cocktail shrimp, drained and minced

2 tsp. ketchup or chilli sauce

1/2 tsp. prepared horseradish

1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Shallot white wine butter

1/2 cup softened butter

1 shallot, minced

2 tsp. olive oil

1 tbsp. dry white wine

1/4 tsp. white pepper

For this one, sweat the shallot in olive oil until translucent and soft, cool, then proceed according to the instructions above.

Mushroom mornay sauce

This classic French recipe exists solely to drape seafood luxuriously. This amount serves 4 to 6.

1/4 cup butter (divided)

1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms

1/4 cup flour

1 cup chicken broth

1 cup whipping cream

1 tbsp. dry white wine

1/4 tsp. white pepper

pinch nutmeg, preferably freshly grated

1/2 cup freshly grated Swiss or gruyere cheese

Melt 1 tbsp. of the butter in a large shallow pot or frying pan. Fry mushrooms until golden brown and their moisture has released and evaporated. Remove from pan and set aside. Add remaining butter. When melted, whisk in flour and cook a couple of minutes. Whisk in broth, cream, wine, pepper and nutmeg and simmer about 5 minutes, until thickened and smooth. Remove from heat and add cheese, stirring until melted. Return mushrooms and serve at once. You can stir lobster meat and cooked pasta into this sauce for the ultimate mac and cheese, or pour it over lobster and serve with whatever sides you like.

Roasted red pepper sauce

This sauce gives you the unctuous mouth feel without the calories and fat of butter. And it tastes great, too. This recipe makes plenty for 6 or 8 lobsters — you don’t want to smother the meat, just drizzle the sauce on top.

3 red bell peppers

1 small onion, minced

3 tbsp. olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Roast red peppers at 450 F until they are well blackened on all sides. Place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap; allow to sit for 15 minutes. Rub the skin off and discard, along with stems and seeds, and place in a food processor. Fry onion in olive oil until translucent and soft. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and cook another minute or two, just until garlic is fragrant. Cool a little and add to red peppers in food processor. Add salt and pepper and process until pureed and smooth and serve at once.

Aioli

This garlic mayonnaise is fantastic with hot, warm or cold lobster, and if you have some leftover, it is the most incredible spread you can imagine for a sandwich. There are raw egg yolks in this recipe, so judge yourself accordingly.

1 bulb garlic

2 egg yolks

1 tbsp. lemon juice

1/4 tsp. salt

1 cup olive oil

Slice off the bottom of the whole garlic bulb — don’t cut too deeply into the cloves, just make it level — then wrap in foil and roast in a 375 F oven about 20 minutes, or until golden and soft. Squeeze out the garlic into a small food processor or bowl. Add yolks, lemon juice and salt and either mash or process to form a smooth paste. With the food processor running, add the oil a few drops at a time at first, then a little faster, to form a creamy thick mayonnaise. Of course, this can be done with a whisk; it just takes a little longer. Serve at once or chill; store any leftovers in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Cynthia Stone is a writer, editor and teacher in St. John’s. Questions may be sent to her c/o The Telegram, P.O. Box 86, St. John’s, NL, A1E 4N1.

Organizations: The Telegram

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