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French Fridays with Dorie: Butter-braised lobster

Butter braised lobster from Around my French Table for French Fridays with Dorie on eatlivetravelwrite.comThe French Fridays with Dorie crew picked this week’s recipe (Vanilla Butter Poached Lobster) on the basis that it would make a nice meal for St Valentine’s Day. Well ok then. Mr Neil and I don’t celebrate (I’d actually rather be surprised with a nice meal or something on a completely random day, but that’s just me) but it just happened that we were both home for dinner on the 14th so this is what we had.

Dorie’s recipe calls for a whole, live lobster but since we’re lucky enough to live a block or so away from an amazing fishmonger who stocks (yes, whole live lobsters but also) lobster tails, I went that route. For $40. I’ll admit I was a little shocked at the price and nervous – I didn’t want to mess things up!  I cooked the tails until they were *just* cooked through, then looked at the giant blob of meat, decided that it was not going to be easy to make that look photogenic and sliced the tails to poach them in the clarified butter. No vanilla here – sorry Dorie, just too odd-sounding for our gold-plate meal!

The plate above was my tester plate – and the pieces were perfectly cooked, poached for a few minutes (since they were already cooked) but the plates we ended up eating for our actual dinner felt a tad overcooked. Not sure if it’s because the cooked lobster tail continued to cook after I removed it from the water – this plate was literally poached minutes after being cooked so it was still at that “just cooked” stage – but in any case, it was really tasty. Was it a $20 plate? I think so. Would I make again? I think so. But not for company, at that price!
Get Dorie Greenspan’s vanilla butter braised lobster recipe here or on p 324 of Around my French Table.

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36 Responses to French Fridays with Dorie: Butter-braised lobster

  1. Liz February 20, 2015 at 06:52 #

    I was worried about the vanilla, too, but Bill didn’t gripe one bit. Wish he would learn to like lobster, but I saved a few bucks making it with shrimp instead 🙂 Beautiful plating, Mardi!

  2. Mr. Neil February 20, 2015 at 08:17 #

    (“I’d actually rather be surprised with a nice meal or something on a completely random day” <<< would say that's a supreme hint, no? 😉 )

    Mr. Neil is just LOVING the seafood denoument to this series, as we approach the end of the book.

    Of course, I enjoyed this – and frankly, makes me think we should have lobster at home more often. (But not too often, at those prices.)

    Mardi's right re the overcooked factor, but I won't complain too much as it was tasty. I would have been intrigued to try the vanilla. I'm not a huge vanilla fan, but a little something might have added more dimension.

    Thoroughly enjoyed, though. As we had for lunch, didn't crack open a new bottle of wine, but did pour a glass of fairly buttery Californian Chardonnay, which was a respectable match.

    Thanks for sending me an edible Valentine, Dorie! 🙂

    • Mardi Michels February 26, 2015 at 05:49 #

      The Doristas planned the meal FOR St Valentine’s Day! Lucky you!

  3. Mary Hirsch February 20, 2015 at 10:50 #

    As Liz wrote, beautiful plating and spectacular photography. I am not an authority on lobster but was able to make this dish with John and Susan Lester who are wonderful chefs and do know their way around this crustacean. Mr. Neil is right that the vanilla, which I didn’t think I would like either, did add another dimension. Scallops would be very tasty infused with vanilla butter also, I think.

    • Mardi Michels February 26, 2015 at 05:49 #

      See now I just don’t see the point with the vanilla – but would be more willing to try with scallops!

  4. Diane Balch February 20, 2015 at 15:15 #

    It’s so easy to over cook seafood because it continues to cook when you take it off of the heat. I went really light on the vanilla because I was also concerned that it would be odd. Nice as background flavor.

    • Mardi Michels February 26, 2015 at 05:48 #

      I need to try sometime but at $20 a tail it wasn’t that time!

  5. Coco in the Kitchen February 20, 2015 at 19:12 #

    Simply stunning.

    Vanilla sounds like it would pair well with the sweet lobster.

    • Mardi Michels February 26, 2015 at 05:48 #

      Well I didn’t try – wasn’t game enough!

  6. Betsy February 20, 2015 at 20:48 #

    I was surprised to enjoy the vanilla flavor. I found it subtle. Your photo looks like it belongs in Modernist Cuisine! Nice dinner, Valentine or not.

  7. Geoff February 21, 2015 at 02:53 #

    For the uninitiated North American readers of your posts, Mardi… lobster down under, of course, is often called crayfish.
    Just saying’.

    • Mr. Neil February 23, 2015 at 07:33 #

      But wait – crayfish (or crawfish for those in Southern US) are different, no? Smaller crustacean?

    • Mardi Michels February 26, 2015 at 05:47 #

      I’d forgotten that!

  8. Cakelaw February 21, 2015 at 06:41 #

    This was good, but definitely a dish for company. You plated yours so beautifully! It is art.

    • Mardi Michels February 26, 2015 at 05:47 #

      Thanks! And yes, def a dish for a special occasion!

  9. Tricia February 21, 2015 at 14:48 #

    That photo is absolute art. WOW. Awesome job. I would also have been far more concerned about playing with the vanilla side of this if I had invested $40 in lobster – my that is really high. We had lucked out with small tails (not tiny though) and perhaps they were on sale because they were 5.99 each. Heck I would have added just about anything to that price point. If you do come across them on sale, or smaller ones for less investment, I would definitely encourage you to circle back and try that vanilla. It was extremely subtle yet tasty. My opinion only but I am not a fish fan and I adored it.

    • Mardi Michels February 26, 2015 at 05:47 #

      Aw thanks! And yes, I just couldn’t with the vanilla…

  10. TheKitchenLioness February 21, 2015 at 15:56 #

    Mardi, what an ethereal presentation of the lobster! I must admit that we adored the vanilla flavor in this dish (it even worked with prawns). Are these fresh clovers leaves that you added to your plate? Spring is in the air in Toronto?
    Hope you are having a good weekend,
    Andrea

    • Mardi Michels February 26, 2015 at 05:46 #

      No they are pea-shoots and spring is most definitely not in the air 🙁

  11. Nana February 21, 2015 at 17:10 #

    Egads! I was complaining about $9.99 per 4 oz tails. Fortunately, I purchased some cod for $5.99
    at the same time to make the Riviera Soup, and convinced Jim it all works out. Ha! Ha! Actually I love cod better than lobster, but this was an interesting recipe and I am glad I made it.
    I love your photo, lovely presentation.

  12. Diane Zwang February 22, 2015 at 10:40 #

    We don’t go out and brave the crowds on Valentine’s Day either. It was really nice to stay home and cook a meal together. My husband had trouble getting his lobster tails up to temperature in the butter but we were cooking 4 whole tails. Funny how we all had different experiences.

    • Mardi Michels February 26, 2015 at 05:46 #

      Well I didn’t *mean* for this to be a Valentine’s meal – it just worked out that way! I par-cooked the lobsters before I poached them so no worries about getting them up to temp…

  13. Janice @Kitchen Heals Soul February 22, 2015 at 19:02 #

    Gorgeous plating! I think you are ready for restaurant work 😉

    P.S. I know what you mean about $20 lobster. Yikes! I love lobster, but it’s so expensive sometimes.

    • Mardi Michels February 26, 2015 at 05:45 #

      Aw thanks Janice! And yes, ouch re the pricetag!

  14. Mr. Neil February 23, 2015 at 07:34 #

    Amusing footnote story: my friends from Newfoundland & Labrador talk about how the “poor kids” used to be sent to school with Lobster rolls in their lunchbags…

    • Mardi Michels February 26, 2015 at 05:44 #

      So funny – like when we were in Cuba and ate so much lobster we got sick of it!

  15. Cher February 24, 2015 at 12:45 #

    Really beautiful, Mardi!

    We don’t really “do” Valentine’s Day; however, in lieu of cards and gifts and all that stuff that we don’t want to be bothered with, we do schedule some good meals around that day. (Although random nice meals out are nice too…HINT).

    You always have lovely photography, but this is one of my favorites BTW.

    • Mardi Michels February 26, 2015 at 05:43 #

      Aw thanks Cher! And yes, random meals are nice too!

  16. Riz February 27, 2015 at 02:38 #

    This looks so delicious! I love how elegantly you’ve staged the photo!
    Hope you’re surviving the winter, this is my first Canadian winter *shiver*

  17. Rose February 27, 2015 at 11:43 #

    Look at it this way, it would have been even pricier in a restaurant.

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