Diary of a Foodie

Lobster Stew

Diary of a Foodie: Season One: Anatomy of a Meal II with Lydia Shire

Serves8 (main course)
  • Active Time:2 hr
  • Start to Finish:8 hr
January 2007
  • 8 (1 1/4-pound) live lobsters
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon paprika (not hot)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 2 cups fine-quality cream Sherry
  • 2 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 10 cups whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon coarse sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • Garnish:

    8 (1-tablespoon) pats unsalted butter; 4 teaspoons chopped fresh curly parsley; 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
  • Bring 6 quarts water with 3 tablespoons salt to a boil in an 8- to 10-quart heavy pot, then plunge 2 lobsters headfirst into water and cook, covered, 4 minutes from time they enter water (they will be only partially cooked). Transfer with tongs to a large bowl of ice and cold water to stop cooking. Return water to a boil if necessary and cook remaining 6 lobsters, 2 at a time, in same manner.
  • Twist off and crack claws, leaving body and tail intact. Remove meat from claws (try to keep claw meat whole) and joints, reserving all shells. Remove tails from bodies, and using kitchen shears, halve lobster tails lengthwise, beginning from tail end. Remove meat from tails, discarding any black intestine, and cut each half crosswise into 4 pieces. Split undersides of bodies lengthwise with a heavy knife to expose innards. Reserve shells, lobster bodies, and, if desired, tomalley (soft green mustardlike substance) from bodies. Discard any remaining lobster innards from bodies. Chill lobster meat, covered.
  • Melt 1 stick butter in cleaned 8- to 10-quart heavy pot over moderately high heat until foam subsides, then cook lobster shells, bodies, tomalley (if using), paprika, and cayenne, stirring frequently, until shells are bright red, 8 to 10 minutes. Add 1 cup Sherry and boil 1 minute. Stir in cream, milk, sea salt, and black pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until liquid is reduced by about one fourth, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature, uncovered. Chill mixture (with shells), covered, at least 4 hours but no more than 1 day.
  • Preheat oven to 200ºF, then heat 8 soup bowls in oven until warm, about 10 minutes.
  • Bring lobster cream just to a simmer, then pour through a large fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl, discarding shells. Return to cleaned pot and season with salt, then keep soup at a bare simmer.
  • Meanwhile, melt remaining stick butter in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until foam subsides, then add lobster meat and remaining cup Sherry and simmer, stirring occasionally, until just cooked through, 2 to 4 minutes. Transfer lobster meat with tongs to warmed bowls, including 2 claws in each serving, and continue simmering Sherry mixture until reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Pour through fine-mesh sieve into simmering soup and stir to combine. Ladle soup over lobster in bowls and top each serving with a pat of butter. Sprinkle with parsley and chives.
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