This meal started out as Homard a L’Americaine and it was inspired by one of the dozens of fantastic recipes discussed in the book Julie & Julia. We all know how I can’t resist making at least one (or ten) things from a food memoir, and this time choosing was especially challenging! My intentions were so good but then, as they say, shit happens… So we went from Homard a L’Americaine to Lobster Flambé. Deal with it, I promise it’s still delicious!
Ingredients for Lobster Flambé
- Lobster meat from three lobsters
- 3 carrots, chopped
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 shallots, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- 1 tomato, chopped
- 1 small carton of creamy fish stock
- 1 tbs. tarragon, chopped
- ¼ stick of butter
- 2 cups dry red wine
- 1⁄3 cup of brandy (the stronger the alcohol, the better to cook with)
- Parsley to garnish
The plan was to get three fresh lobsters and…erm…kill them myself. I watched videos of how to kill and dismember lobsters all day at work to steel myself for the occasion! I was so ready. I was going to take the innards and make a beautiful compound butter while cooking up the lobster in its shell till it was a gorgeous pink hue. Here’s how that dream died…
“Hey Mom, where’s the lobster?”
“In that can over there.”
“….CAN? But I said three lobsters!!!”
“Sabrina, they were GLARING at me.”
“The grocery store people or the lobsters?
“You weren’t there. They swam up to the damn edge of the tank and their beady eyes just started to glare. So I asked the person in charge if she could very kindly kill them for me. She said that wasn’t allowed and that they were only meant to put them in paper bags with an AIR HOLE. I am not carting around fresh, angry lobsters breathing out of air holes.”
I accepted defeat. I wasn’t all that steeled to commit crustacean murder anyway. Not yet.
“Hey dad, can I borrow a smidge of cognac?”
“What the hell for?”
“I’m cooking lobster!”
“Not with my cognac you’re not.”
“You don’t even drink cognac!!!”
“I’m not wasting some of my best liquor on your crackpot recipe. Cook it like a normal person.”
“But. It’s. Supposed. To. Be. A. Flambé.”
So I put my winter coat over my pyjamas and weathered the weird slush-storm to the liquor store.
I finally come back and start cooking.
“Hey Dad, where’s the white wine?”
“In the fridge. WAIT. What for?”
“The sauce for the lobster. It needs two cups of white wine.”
“TWO CUPS OF WHITE WINE?” *peals of laughter* “You can use the red wine in the garage.”
And so, Homard a L’Americaine turned into Sabrina’s Lobster Flambé. I have to say though, it was still pretty damned good. And yes, Dad finished every last bit of it.
It’s also actually incredibly easy and the most amazing death-defying feat you will do in the kitchen! Until I pursue something crazier, of course.
Empty your lobster meat into a large skillet that’s been lightly coated with oil. Please note, it is not a good idea to pour the oil into the already hot pan and then go “Oh shit, where the hell is the lobster??” If you’re going to be looking for the meat you need to heat up, please don’t leave the oil on the flame. If you do that and then finally find said meat and pop it into the pan, sparks will fly and burn you everywhere. Just…don’t do it.
In a separate pan, start to gently fry the shallots, onions, and carrots.
When the carrots begin to soften and the onions glisten, it’s time. Time to flambé! Pour your brandy over the mix and then take a deep breath.
Grab your lighter and step back from the stove, holding your arm out to the pan. Light it. Set aside the lighter and gently begin to shake the skillet until the flames subside. Don’t worry, it’s a lot easier than you think it would be and it’s a thrilling feeling!
Do a happy dance around your kitchen, singing something along the lines of “I did it! I am queen of the kitchen!!!” Not that I did that or anything…but you may and that’s OKAY.
Once the flames have disappeared, pour the mix in with the lobster. Sauté it gently for about ten minutes, adding the wine, the fish stock cream, the garlic, the butter and the tarragon. All this should be done on medium heat. When the sauce begins to thicken, and the smell of creamy lobster with a hint of that dry wine starts to permeate the air, it’s time to eat.
I served it in bowls with cheesy-garlic bread. It was divine and I’m not ashamed to say that I sopped up every last bit of that gravy with distinctly un-ladylike tendencies. You can afford to abandon good graces when the food is that amazing. Especially if you already started drinking wine straight from the bottle to celebrate the giddy victory of your first flambé…
Mangez bien, riez souvent, aimez beaucoup!