Cauliflower done two ways, caramelised and puréed, is here topped with a succulent lobster tail, which has been poached in a rich lobster and brandy stock. This poached lobster recipe from William Drabble makes a delightful dish for a special occasion.
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Start by preparing the lobsters. Put the lobsters in a freezer. This will render them insensate. Boil some water and add a dash of white wine vinegar. Once the lobster is insensate, place it on its back with its claws tied and hold it firmly by the top of its head
Place the tip of a very sharp chef's knife on the head just beneath its mouth, lining the blade up with the lobster’s midline with the blade side pointed toward its tail
The first cut should be directed forwards toward the head, and the second backwards down the midline towards the tail
Pierce the lobster’s head downward, then place the knife tip just to the body side of the junction of its tail and thorax and cut through the midline. The procedure must not take more than 10 seconds. For diagrams and more detailed information, visit the RSPCA’s website
Once the lobsters are dead, pull each head away from the tail and pull the claws off. Cook the tails in simmering water for 3 minutes and the claws for 5. Put both into iced water for 5 minutes. Drain
In the meantime put a big pan of water on to blanch the lobsters and have a big bowl of ice water ready to submerge the lobsters into
In another pan sweat the onions, carrots, garlic, celery and leek in olive oil until soft. Add the tomato purée and cook a little longer. Put to one side
1 large onion
3 celery sticks
2 tbsp of tomato purée
4 garlic cloves
Place the tails into the boiling water (for about 20-30 seconds until the shell starts to turn red and the tail turns up. Remove the lobster tail from the boiling water and plunge straight into iced water
Put the claws in the water and re boil. Leave them to cool in the liquid
Remove the tail meat from the shell and place in the fridge
Crush the lobster bones. Put the pan with the sweated vegetables back on the stove and heat up. Add the lobster shells and cook until the protein has started to set
Add a little brandy and reduce. Add just enough water to cover the bones and add the thyme. Bring to the boil and cook for 10 minutes. Add the tarragon and cook for 3 minutes
5 tbsp of brandy
6 sprigs of thyme
6 sprigs of fresh tarragon
Remove the pan from the heat and leave to stand for a couple of minutes. Then pass through a fine sieve into a small pan, bring back to the boil and put to one side
Take the claws out of the water and remove the meat from the shell. Put to one side in a fridge. This meat can be used for a salad or to make this dish into a main course sized portion
For each portion of sauce take 100ml of lobster stock and add 10g of butter
10g of butter
Reduce this very quickly until it starts to thicken, then whisk in 2 tablespoons of cream for each portion. Put to one side
2 tbsp of cream
Poach the lobster tails in the remaining stock, ensuring that you have enough stock to cover the tails
To poach the tails bring the stock up to the boil and drop in the lobster tails. Remove from the heat and leave to poach for 4 minutes
Remove, rest for a couple of minutes and then slice in half
For the caramalised cauliflower, take one large cauliflower and section it up into florets. Cut the florets into 2-3mm thick slices
Select all the well-shaped pieces for the caramelised cauliflower, reserving the less attractive pieces for the purée
Blanch the slices of cauliflower in boiling water until half cooked. Refresh in iced water and drain. To serve, caramelise in butter
100g of butter
For the cauliflower purée, finely chop all the cauliflower trimmings and place into a pan. Add a little salt and enough water to just cover
Boil very quickly until nearly all of the water has gone and add a little double cream. Boil for a couple of minutes until it starts to thicken slightly. It will burn easily so you need to keep it moving around the pan
50ml of double cream
Purée in a liquidiser and pass through a fine sieve
To serve, place the caramalised cauliflower in a round on the bottom of a plate. Place the purée in the centre with the poached lobster on top. Pour the butter sauce over this and serve immediately
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