Git Yer CLAWS Out

New Year’s Eve for many is the biggest blowout party of year, one last chance to be extravagant, to live for the moment, to overindulge, make it a year to remember, party like a rock star. My New Year’s Eve was a highly elegant version of Cinco de Mayo when I gorged in over-the-top, extravagant food and drink, the kind of high-end delicacies that the Average Joe rarely experiences.

We in the industry lovingly refer to NYE as amateur’s night. Everyone and their brother seeks out things they believe to be gourmet, the brand of gourmet immortalized in ’60s food magazines: items like Surf & Turf, pink champagne, Baked Alaska, etc.

For professional chefs, NYE is the time to use Beluga caviar, create garnishes with foie gras, and roast game birds with black truffles without worrying about guests shying away because of price. This I miss about being a Chef de Cuisine!

Now that the holidays are over, you can stay home and create something better than what’s at most of those overcrowded restaurants trying to be gourmet for the day.

How about lobster? For most Americans living on the Eastern Seaboard, Maine lobster is king. And the king of cooking techniques for these beautiful beasts is butter poaching. Yes, literally slow-cooking the lobster in emulsified butter. YUM! The technique is really quite simple, the result sublime.

Step one: Bring a pot of water to a boil — obviously one large enough to hold the beast, knucklehead. Boil the lobster for three minutes, then shock it in an ice water bath.

Once it’s cooled, remove the meat from the shell. Now for the fun part: making the beurre monté. Sounds French and technical, yet it’s not. In a small saucepan, place two tablespoons of water, heat to medium low or until the water begins to bubble, then add about four ounces of cut-up cold whole butter. Add just one piece at a time and allow each piece to melt completely before adding the next. You will need about one stick (notice the housewife measurement) per lobster.

Once all the butter is incorporated, add the lobster meat and slightly raise the heat; you want a very weak simmer to prevent the butter from separating. You should also add some herbs, roasted garlic and a pinch of salt. Cook for about five minutes. That’s it!

Now sauce it with my Romesco and serve it with roasted potatoes, crusty bread and a nice salad. Enjoy eating better — and butter — to make this a very, very happy beginning to the Happy New Year.

Chef Bill’s Lobster Romesco Sauce
Ingredients:

  • 6 Roma tomatoes, halved lengthwise
  • 2 Red peppers, halved, stemmed and seeded
  • 2 Garlic cloves
  • 1/4 Spanish onion
  • 1 Tbsp. toasted almonds
  • 1 Tbsp. country bread slice, crumbled
  • 1 Tsp. paprika
  • 1 Pinch cayenne
  • 1 Oz. sherry vinegar
  • 3 Oz. lobster stock, reduced by half
  • 4 Oz. butter from poaching the lobster
  • 1 Tbsp. parsley, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Coat the tomatoes, peppers, onion and garlic with oil and place on a sheet pan.
  2. Roast at 425°F for 20 minutes, or until slightly charred and soft.
  3. Place vegetables in a blender with the vinegar, stock, parsley, seasonings, almonds and bread.
  4. Purée. Slowly add the oil until a sauce consistency is reached. Adjust seasonings to taste.

Until we cook again,
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Contact Chef Bill Thompson, the owner of the Amelia Island Culinary Academy in Fernandina Beach, at [email protected] to find inspiration and get you Cheffed Up!

About EU Jacksonville

october, 2021

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