Ken Z the Lobster + Unnamed Friend (Erik?)
Date: September 23, 2012
Location: Our apartment!
Meet Ken Z the lobster, he’s from NYC Chinatown. He’s a big ol’ ugly bastard and weighed about 1.5 pounds – Ken’s friend (Erik?) was also about 1.5 pounds. Steven, Arthur, and I schemed Ken’s and Erik’s fates by looking to the French Laundry Cookbook. We boiled 8 quarts of water and added a half cup of white distilled white wine vinegar, and then let the lobsters steep for 2 minutes.
Then we took out Ken and Erik and twisted off the tails.
(It’s like a horrid magic trick of sawing the body in half, where the body is actually sawed (pulled) in half)
The claws went back to another five minutes and in the meantime we tried to pull the tails ouf of the shell while keeping the meat whole and intact. We twisted the tail fan off and pushed the meat out of the hole from the midsection. We also needed to take off the claw wholly intact and this proved to be a pain in the neck. We eventually got the claw off after breaking the edge of the shell closest to the knuckle.
We put the heads/bodies into the steamer and then moved onto buter poaching the lobster meat. We decided to sous vide Ken with some butter and a clove of garlic:
Oooohh…sous vide…Oh you fancy huh? Nail done hair done Eruhything duh -duh
We sous vide Ken at 140F for 21 minutes. We also butter poached Erik in a clarified butter bath for 5 minutes over low heat.
Ken ended up being really tasty, although slightly too garlicky-I think next time I’d only use 1/2 of a clove of garlic. But still, the lobster was sweet and the flavors were really clean. We wanted to sous-vide to make the texture of the lobster really tender, but a slight mushiness prevented it from being truly perfect. (Arthur’s note: we should try 140F for 25 minutes next time. Also, we need to pat it down a lot more before sous-videing it next time. The lobster was way too wet, and it was likely because I didn’t pat it down a bit; there was still a lot of water when I put the meat into the vacuum bag.)
The head and guts were the amazing, as expected. We made a soy-ginger dipping sauce to go along with the cholesterol-filled sweet creamy insides of the lobster. Om nom nom.
Erik was cooked a lot closer to that perfect meaty sweet crunchy level, and then he was taken to an even more over-the-top level by the addition of:
So the caviar ended up making the lobster meat even sweeter, and added a slightly tangy note to the otherwise very sweet and buttery dish. The initial crunch of the lobster was very satisfying, but what was delightful was the little bursts of salty tangy flavor of caviar that added a great complexity to the dish. All in all, cooking lobster was pretty fun and delicious. Next time, we’ll probably try to make proper sauces. Also, at some point I want to be able to wok fry lobster chunks with jalapenos and garlic, asian style. But in the meantime, I’ll think of this dish and remember it being a pretty tasty home effort.