It's with a tear in our eyes that our week in Pittenweem ends. We came on a mission, not only a much needed holiday, a catch up with friends but to cook lobster. 8 lobsters later I will be leaving Fife with some more ticks in the book and a very full belly. We have been staying in a fisherman's cottage and have loved watching the day boats coming in. Pittenweem has a working harbour and was where Raymond Blanc visited recently to find the very best lobsters. Whilst here I have cooked ED's two recipes for homard a l'americane and boiled up another 4 to take home for the rest of the recipes. The two recipes vary slightly, both require you to kill the lobster and cut it into pieces. I have just discovered I am scarred of lobsters and have a tendency to squeal like a girl when they move in my hand, our 4 year old daughter is fearless and has been racing them across the floor.
In the first recipe you saute the lobster in butter then add the sauce, the second you make the sauce and add the lobster pieces to it. I will give you the recipe for the second, well my slight variation of it.
Melt a lot of butter in a pan, add an equal amount of grated carrots and shallots(a cupful of each). To this add 1/2 a bottle of dry white wine(chablis), a bouquet of parsley, 5 cloves of garlic, 2 skinned diced tomatoes, olive oil, 3 tablespoons each of cream and meat juice, a good seasoning of pepper, a pinch of saffron and curry powder. This was the simmered for forty minutes. For this one we(Tom) just killed and halved the lobsters and these were added to the sauce and cooked for about 30 minutes -I love seeing the colour transformation from black to the deepest pink. Tom (my now uber capable helper- lobster killer) was sent to the fisherman's pub with a mug to get a double shot of cognac. He returned triumphant for me to heat it, light it in a ladle and pour flaming over the lobsters. I then removed the lobsters to a serving dish (ED recommends a timbale), I then mixed in the greenish bits (liver?) and some parsley into the sauce and poured it over the lobster. We served ours with rice which was quite nice to soak up the juices but not completely necessary.
Today we have boiled up the remaining 4 lobsters. I added to some heavily salted water a halved red pepper, 2 leeks and a glass of madeira. When this was boiling we put in the live lobsters(2 at a time), head first tuned onto their back. I did manage two after a brief melt down over the one full of roe (motherly instincts flowing, or too much Nemo), suddenly moving in my hand prompting me to drop it and squeal to the taunting chants of my children.
The lobsters were then left to cool in the broth and Tom kindly removed all the meat. This will travel home with us to make homard a la charentaise(sounds like a thermidor recipe) and homard courchamps which is in soy and mustard. If there is any meat left ED has a few fish in mayo recipes I could tick off with the lobster.
As for the broth I was just pleased with myself as I whizzed it up and added some cooked crab(we also cooked 6 crabs), and a splash of cream to it to make a delicious crab soup.
If you can't envisage the lobster picture enough the boys have made a film, here it is,