Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Fancy Friday

Jan 10 007

Last Friday night, Reagan was gone to spend the night at Nana’s and Grandpa’s, I decided to attempt to make a more fancy restaurant-type meal for Jeff and myself.

I went to epicurious for some ideas and decided on Lobster Crisps in Champagne Dill Sauce, Beef Medallions with Cognac Sauce and Carrot Puree.

I also bought some yummy breads at the grocery store.  I started by making the Lobster Crisps, while labor-intensive, were not difficult to make, only time-consuming.  Friday night we  got as far as the Lobster Crisps and bread because the crisps were out-of-this-world delicious and filling. Jeff made sure I took pictures of them before ate them.

Aren’t they pretty?

Jan 10 006

Here’s the recipe. I changed it a bit by using the frozen puff pastry shells instead of making the crisps out of wonton wrappers. Here’s my version. Make it if you want to really impress someone:

Lobster Crisps in Champagne-Dill Sauce

Accompanied by Champagne, this beautiful and delicious appetizer starts the meal on a sophisticated note.

Yield: Serves 2

4 tablespoons butter, room temperature
6 puff pastry shells
1 1 1/2- to 1 3/4-pound live lobster
2 cups extra-dry Champagne
2 cups water
1/3 cup chopped shallots
1 teaspoon tomato paste
1/4 cup whipping cream
3/4 cup thin strips fresh fennel bulb
3/4 cup thin strips peeled carrots
3/4 cup thinly sliced leek (white and pale green parts only)
4 teaspoons chopped fresh dill

Bake puff pastry shells according to package directions. Let cool.

Cook lobster in large pot of boiling salted water until just cooked through, about 8 minutes. Transfer lobster to large bowl. Let stand 15 minutes. Working over bowl to catch juices, twist lobster tails and claws from body. Crack shells and carefully remove lobster meat. Cover and refrigerate lobster meat.

Place all lobster shells and juices in large saucepan. Add Champagne, 2 cups water, shallots and tomato paste. Simmer until liquid is reduced to 1 cup, about 1 hour. Strain liquid; return to same pan. Add cream; simmer until sauce is reduced to 1/3 cup, about 6 minutes. (Crisps, lobster and sauce can be prepared 1 day ahead. Store crisps at room temperature. Cover and refrigerate sauce.)

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in heavy large skillet over medium-low heat. Add fennel and carrots; sauté 3 minutes. Add leek and sauté until vegetables are crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Cut lobster tail crosswise into 8 medallions. Add all lobster to skillet. Cover; cook just until heated through, about 2 minutes. Mix in 2 teaspoons dill. Season with salt and pepper.

Rewarm sauce over low heat. Whisk in 2 tablespoons butter and 2 teaspoons dill. Season with salt and pepper.

Take the middle out of the pastry shells. Arrange the pastry shells on 2 plates.  Put lobster and vegetable mix into the shell and around the base of the shell. Spoon sauce over.

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