I like to think this recipe is a perfect romantic dinner for New Years Eve. It was inspired by my recent visit to Bryan Voltaggio’s TABLE 21 at Volt Restaurant. The meal consisted of 21 small, intricate plates prepared directly in front of us. Everything was delicious and beautifully presented. I’m not sure my description would do it justice but I did find this wonderful blog entry about the experience, with photos. The menu changes daily so my meal was slightly different, but this will give you an idea about what dinner is like at Table 21. One of the mini entrees we were served was butter poached lobster with steel-cut oats, honeycap mushrooms, kombu, and fresh yeast. My recipe doesn’t have nearly that much excitement, but I hope you will enjoy it nonetheless.
- 2-3 fresh lobster tails
- 2-3 cups clarified butter
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced finely
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
- 1 1/2 cups veal stock (alternately, you can use just chicken stock)
- 1 cup steel cut oats
- 1/4 cup white wine (I used Chardonnay)
- 1/2 cup fresh grated Parmigiano Reggiano
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
- In a small saucepan, heat the clarified butter to 160 degrees F. This will be well below a simmer. The size and shape of your saucepan will dictate how much butter you will need. You only need enough to just cover the lobster tails. Also, you can poach without a thermometer but your results will be more consistent if you monitor the heat. Any kitchen thermometer will do, but I love to get fancy here and use my infrared thermometer
- Prep the lobster: using kitchen shears, cut a straight line through the center of the shell along the bottom of the tail. Try to avoid cutting into the meat too much. This will keep the tail from curling while it cooks and will also make removing the shell much easier after the cooking is complete.
- Poach the lobster for approximately 7 minutes, or until the shell is red and the lobster meat is just opaque. Monitor the temperature regularly and move the pan on and off the heat as needed. When cooked, the lobster should be soft, not rubbery.
- Allow the tails to cool briefly and then carefully and slowly separate the meat from the shell.
- Heat up your stock to a boil, then turn down the temperature slightly.
- Cover a pot or sautoir with just enough clarified butter to coat the bottom (1-2 tablespoons). Sweat the onions and garlic with a pinch of salt for several minutes.
- Add the oats and turn up the heat. Stir occasionally and let the oats toast a bit for a few minutes.
- Once the bottom of the pan starts getting a light glaze, deglaze with the wine, stirring briefly. After the wine has mostly soaked into the oats, add a ladle of hot stock.
- I don’t believe in constant stirring. I’d rather let the bottom of the pan glaze up, so I only stir right after adding the liquid. After that I give the pan a shake periodically to keep things loose. On medium heat, add one ladle of stock at a time and let the liquid absorb almost completely before adding more. Steel-cut oat risotto takes longer to make than regular risotto, approximately 30-35 minutes or until the oats are soft.
- Begin taste testing the oats for doneness when the stock starts getting low. The oats should be soft and not overly chewy. If necessary, turn the heat down to low to allow them to continue cooking while stirring until the reach a good consistency. Season with salt and a bit of pepper. When the rice is ready, add the Parmigiano Reggiano.
- Ladle the risotto into serving dishes. Top each with a lobster tail, garnish with parsley and drizzle with clarified butter.