Sunday, October 25, 2009

X-Country Double Lobster Risotto


That's right, two kinds of lobsters from two different coasts, East meets West: A Maine lobster of the surf variety and a Washington lobster of the turf variety, combined in a Reece's style mash-up for grown-up palettes. I gotta tell you, folks, this is a serious keeper, and I'm scratching my head wondering why I've never seen such a beast on a menu before because it makes so much sense.

Lobster mushrooms are named for their bright orange exterior that resembles the cooked crustacean—the colorful result of one fungus parasitizing another, with the hapless—and unpalatable—Russula brevipes being attacked and colonized by Hypomyces lactifluorum, resulting, incredibly, in a mushroom that is edible and choice.

The more I've cooked with lobsters over the last few years, the more I've begun to appreciate their versatility. They make a wonderful traditional duxelles sauce, and there's no denying they have a hint of seafood taste that works especially well in certain dishes of the sea. Plus, their texture when cooked is firm yet soft and smooth. You could almost use them in a traditional Lobster Risotto and skip the crustacean altogether. But when used together, it's like doubling your money.

2 Maine lobsters (each about 1 1/4 lbs)*
4 tbsp butter
1/2 lb lobster mushrooms, diced
1 large shallot, diced
1 celery rib, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup sherry
2 cups Arborio rice
8 cups stock*
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
2 tbsp chopped parsley and/or chives

* You can use chicken stock, fish stock, or make your own stock using the lobster shells, which is what we did. After cooking, remove lobster to cold water. Add to pot 1 cut up onion, 2 chopped carrots, 2 chopped celery ribs, and a bay leaf. Toss the lobster shells back into the pot as you finish cleaning them of their meat. Simmer, allowing stock to reduce, until ready to use, then strain.

1. Saute shallots, garlic, celery, and mushrooms in butter over medium-high heat. When the shallots are translucent, pour in the sherry and continue cooking until most of the alcohol has evaporated, then add the rice and stir to coat thoroughly, cooking another couple minutes.

2. Begin adding ladlefuls of warm stock in your preferred risotto style. I like this risotto creamy but not overly wet. Continue until the rice is cooked yet still al dente.

3. Meanwhile, chop up lobster meat to desired size, reserving large hunks of claw meat as garnish. When risotto is done, remove from heat and mix in Parmesan and lobster pieces. Sprinkle plated risotto with chopped herbs.

Serves 4. Pair with a medium to full-bodied white that isn't too oaky. Our local shop recommended an Argiolas Vermentino di Sardegna Costamolino 2008, which the New York Times called their favorite as well as "Best Value" in a recent roundup of Italian vermentinos.

7 comments:

Ciao Chow Linda said...

Oh wow - you have created a dream of a dish with two luxury items. I don't think I've ever seen lobster mushrooms here in the east. How I'd loved to have been a fellow diner at the table.

Hunter Angler Gardener Cook said...

Aha! You have discovered Vermentino! ONe of my favorite white wines, one I am contemplating making in 2010; I know two growers who will sell me fruit. GREAT wine with seafood.

Still have not cooked with lobster mushrooms, though.

Kimberley said...

Just saw that you'll be at Omnivore Books November 5th! Looking forward.

LC said...

Linda - It's a keeper for sure, although it need not be East meets West. I'm pretty sure lobster mushrooms fruit on the East Coast. The host shroom may be different (a species of Lactarius, I think) but the overall effect is similar.

Hank - Yes, it was delicious. Can't remember having a Vermentino before but I'll be ordering it again. Crisp and just right for the lobsters. BTW, time is running out to cook with lobster shrooms in '09. Do you ever see them in the markets down there?

Kimberley - Please stop by and say hello. Or join us for post-reading revelry. I'm expecting a few of my sketchy Bay Area friends to be in attendance, so should be a fun night.

Trever said...

Surf and turf, totally perfecto. I'm seriously jones'd-out for a bolete foray on the coast. Have you gone yet?

Barbara said...

Ahhh- a fabulous risotto and an even more fabulous wine.

ntsc said...

Followed Hunter Angler here.

Comment of the lobster stock. Boil is a bad word, although by low boil you may mean this. Stocks should be simmered at 180-190 F, it should not be allowed to boil for any length of time. Boiling is bad because it stirs up the contents, lowering clairity.

I can lobster stock, using a pressure canner, and we have both a 'plain' and a roasted body stock.