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Poached Lobster Wrapped
in White Wine Pasta
with Lemon Beurr Blanc
By Charlie Burke

Click here for printer-friendly version of this recipe

Cold winter days provide time for more complex recipes, and this week’s
lobster dish requires several steps. None of these is difficult, however, and
much of the work can be done ahead, leaving only the quick preparation of the
beurre blanc and the cooking of the pasta before serving.*

Lobster makes a great special occasion meal, and here it is dressed up with a
buttery lemon sauce accented with tarragon, Spanish saffron and white wine
and served in thin pasta, made which dry white wine replacing half the eggs.
The wine makes the pasta light and elastic so that it stretches easily to wrap the
lobster, and the light flavors of the sauce and pasta complement the rich lobster.

Since perfectly steamed or boiled lobster served  with only butter is seafood
perfection, I feel any sauce in more formal presentations should pay homage to
this signature New England tradition. Here, the butter appears in both the
poaching liquid and the sauce, and the lemon, frequently added to the “drawn
butter” served with boiled lobster along our coast, replaces vinegar in the
beurre blanc. A pinch of tarragon gives a faint anise-like accent, and saffron
provides color and depth, but the flavor of perfectly fresh lobster remains the
main element in this dish.

This recipe is best made with live lobsters because the juices and roe collected
when shelling the lobster are used in the poaching liquid, but it will still be fine
made with cooked lobster meat.

Four Servings:

3 two-pound female lobsters, or 1 pound cooked lobster meat (order it cooked
2/3 of normal cooking time)

Place a rack in a pot large enough to hold the lobsters; add 2-3 inches of water
and 3 tablespoons of salt. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Place the
lobsters on the rack, cover and begin timing when the pot fills with steam and
some is escaping. Steam for 9 minutes, uncover and remove the pot from the
heat. When the lobsters are cooled, remove the meat over a bowl and collect the
juices and roe. The roe will be incompletely cooked and will be partly red with
the remainder being inky black. Remove the intesitnal veins and slice tail meat
into 1-2 inch pieces; Leave the claws whole. Cover meat and juices and
refrigerate.

Pasta:
1 extra large egg
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 3/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour (we use King Arthur or organic all
purpose flour from the Littleton Grist Mill  (  http://www.littletongristmill.
com/ )

Mound the flour on a clean surface, make a well in the center and add the egg.
Break the yolk with a fork and  stir the egg, incorporating some of the flour.
Add the wine and continue incorporating the flour into the liquid. Use a pastry
scraper to mix inevitable leaks into the flour and eventually finish the mixing
with the scraper. When the dough becomes a shaggy mass, knead with floured
hands until smooth. Wrap in plastic wrap for at least 30 minutes. Alternatively,
pulse all ingredients in a food processor until they come together, leaving time
between pulses to avoid overheating the dough.

Using a pasta machine, process 1/4 of the dough at a time. Pass it through the
widest swetting twice, then roll it out in each level, ending at the second
thinnest setting. Cut the strips into 6-8 inch lengths, trimming the width to 3-4
inches. The dough can also be rolled on a floured surface with a rolling pin,
although it is difficult to get it as thin as that from a pasta machine. Cut it inot
strips with  chef's knife. Lay the pasta on floured kitchen towels to dry, turning
from time to time.

Beurre blanc

2 shallots, finely chopped
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup lemon juice
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pinch Spanish saffron
2 tablespoons water
1/2 pound butter in 1 inch slices

Place shallots, saffron, wine and lemon juice ito a medium heavy bottomed pan
and heat over low heat, simmering until nearly all of the liquid has evaporated.
Add the water and over medium-high heat whisk in the butter a few pieces at a
time, whisking constantly. When incorporated into a smooth sauce, taste,
adding extra lemon juice or butter of too bland or overly acidic. Covered, the
beurre blanc can be held in a 200 degree oven for at least one hour.

Final preparation:

Strain the lobster juice and roe through a fine sieve, pushing the roe through
with  a wooden spoon. In a shallow saute pan, heat juices over medium heat
until simmering and roe is red. Add 1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon and 4
tablespoons of butter. Add the lobster meat and cook until just done. Cover
and hold in a warm oven. If using cooked lobster meat, reduce 1/3 cup of dry
white wine in a saute pan, add  butter and a pinch of tarragon and reheat the
meat over low heat.

Into a pot of rapidly boiling salted water, drop 8 strips of pasta, cooking for 4-5
minutes until soft. Drain and place 2 pieces at right angles to each other on each
of 4 warmed plates. Reserve 4 claws and divide the lobster meat and juice
among the 4 plates, placing it onto the pasta where  the strips intersect. Add a
small amount of beurre blanc and fold the pasta over the lobster. Place a claw
on top of the pasta and drizzle with the beurre blanc. Plate vegetables and
serve at once.

I served this with carrots sauteed in butter with black pepper and tarragon,
along with sliced fennel sauteed in butter until slightly softened, because both
vegetables go well with lobster. An excellent Charles Heidsiek Brut Reserve
Champagne, saved for a special occasion, accompanied the lobster at this year's
Christmas dinner, but a good Sauvignon Blanc or Sancerre would go, as well.

*This is one of the more detailed recipes we've done, so, if you wish, it can be
simplified. Purchase cooked lobster meat (again, request that it be
undercooked). Make the beurre blanc, adding a pinch of tarragon, and reheat
the lobster in the beurre blanc. Serve the lobster with Israeli couscous or a thin
pasta, such as linguini.

About the author: An organic farmer and avid cook, writer Charlie Burke is the vice
president of the
New Hampshire Farmer's Market Association, president of the NH Farm
to Restaurant Connection and helps run the Sanbornton (NH) Farmers' Market.  Along
with his wife, Joanne, Charlie grows certified organic herbs, greens and berries at Weather
Hill Farm in Sanbornton, NH.  
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