Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Best Thing I've Had All Year

..was a lobster bolognese at the Green Street Grill last Sunday night. I simply couldn't understand how any combination of earthly ingredients could taste so good.

My guess is cream. Lots of cream. And lobster stock. Generous hunks of lobster meat, including claw, didn't hurt either.

Yet even those incredibly delicious components don't fully explain the dish's magical powers. I could combine cream, lobster and lobster stock at home, but they did something else, something I don't understand, and it left me awestruck. Probably, it was butter.

Go there just to eat it.

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4 comments:

Laura [What I Like] said...

You're making me wish I lived in Boston...were there tomatoes or no? I need to try to recreate this dish...

Aaron Kagan said...

Yes, certainly tomatoes.

Rick said...

Aaron, this recipe was popularized by Alfred Portale at Gotham Bar and Grill in NYC, and is in his first cookbook. You are right--cream, stock, and veggies are the ingredients. I have the recipe in my computer because I worked on the book as the recipe tester and writer.

Fettuccine with Lobster Bolognese
Makes 4 to 6 main course servings

Lobster Bolognese Sauce
l/4 cup distilled white vinegar
3 (l to l l/4 pounds) live lobsters
2 tablespoons olive oil
l medium onion, chopped
l/2 cup chopped carrot (about l/2 medium carrot)
l/3 cup chopped celery (about l/2 small celery rib)
4 garlic cloves, sliced
5 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
5 sprigs tarragon
5 sprigs basil
l dried bay leaf
3 tablespoons tomato paste
l/4 cup Cognac or brandy
l/2 cup dry white wine
6 cups white chicken stock, or as needed
1 cup heavy cream
Coarse salt and cayenne pepper

Bring a large stockpot of 10 quarts salted water and the vinegar to a boil over high heat. In batches, if necessary, add the lobsters and cover. Cook for 5 minutes. (The lobsters will only be partially cooked.) Drain the lobsters, place in a bowl, and set aside until cool enough to handle.
Working over a bowl to catch the juices, twist the lobster bodies away from the tails; reserve the bodies. Saving as much of the juices as possible while working, crack the lobster tails and claws. Remove the meat and cut into 3/4-inch dice. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Coarsely chop the lobster shells.
In a large stockpot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, celery, garlic, and parsley sprigs and cover. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables soften, about l0 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste. Add the lobster shells and bodies and cook, stirring often, for 2 minutes. Add the cognac and reduce by half, about 2 minutes. Add the wine and reduce by half, about 3 minutes. Add the reserved juices and enough stock to barely cover the ingredients. Bring to a boil over high heat, skimming off any foam that rises to the surface. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until well-flavored, about 45 minutes. Strain into a large bowl, pressing hard on the solids to extract as much flavor as possible, then discard the solids. (If making in advance, cool, cover, and refrigerate.)
In a large saucepan, bring the stock to a boil over high heat and reduce to l cup, about 30 minutes. Add the cream, return to a boil, and cook until the sauce thickens slightly, about 5 minutes. Taste and season carefully with salt and cayenne pepper.

Assembly
l pound fresh fettuccine
l tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 teaspoons finely chopped tarragon
l0 basil leaves, cut into chiffonade
Sprigs of chervil for garnish

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the fettuccine and cook until al dente, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain and return the pasta to the pot.
If necessary, reheat the lobster sauce over low heat. Add the lobster meat. and cook just to heat the lobster meat through, about 2 minutes. Stir in the parsley, tarragon, and basil. Add the warm lobster sauce to the pasta and toss well.
Serve in warmed pasta bowls, garnishing each serving with the chervil leaves.

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