Three products associated in three dishes : Lobster, Artichoke, Yellow Beet
For Valentine’s day at the Billey’s Bistrot, I prepared a dinner focused on three products: the lobster, the artichoke and the yellow beet, associating those three products in three different dishes, a soup, a starter and an entrée. Although I took inspirations here and there, those three dishes are mostly personal creations, sometimes a bit risky in terms of concept or association, the artichoke leaf crisp in the bisque, the lobster with a dice of roasted foie gras, the yellow beet risotto with turmeric and saffron… but those all work very well, and ever better than I expected it.
Lobster bisque, artichoke stem croutons, artichoke leaf chips
Napoleon of lobster claws poached in an artichoke leaf broth, seared foie gras dices, yellow beet slices roasted in the foie gras fat, topped with an artichoke heart chip, and lobster bisque as a sauce
Yellow beet risotto, cooked in an artichoke broth, turmeric and saffron, lobster tail medallions, poached in an artichoke leaf broth poached and rapidly seared in olive oil, artichoke heart chip, and lobster bisque as a sauce
To be noted also that:
§ Those three dishes cross-fertilize each other: the artichoke leaves are the base of a stock in which I cook the lobster, then this artichoke/lobster stock is the base of the bisque and the broth used for the risotto,
§ Consequently, because of this interconnection, I used every single part of each of those products, including the lobster shells and the artichoke leaves and stem… with the exception of the choke!
I am happy to share those recipes.
Level of difficulty
§ 2 medium size lobster (~2 lb)
§ 2 artichokes
§ 2 yellow beets (if you don’t like the beet earthy taste, you can use butternut squash for instance)
§ 1 dozen of small foie gras cubes or trims, cold
§ 2 tbsp of turmeric
§ 1 dozen of saffron pistils
§ 1/2 onion, finely chopped
§ 1 shallot clove, finely chopped
§ 3 oz of butter (2 for the bisque and 1 for the risotto)
§ Olive oil
§ 1 shot of Cognac
§ 1/2 glass of white wine
§ 2 tbsp of crème fraiche
§ 1 oz of grated Grana Padano
§ Bay leaves
§ Cayenne or Espelette
1 Preparation of the artichokes
§ Start by preparing the artichokes. Remove all the leaves (fold and twist), or the petals to be exact. Separate the green (outside) and yellow (center) leaves on one side, and the “purplish” (inside) leaves on the other side. Cut the stem. Remove the hairy choke, probably the only part that won’t be used, and keep the cleaned hearts and the stems in lemon water. Fill a big pot (big enough to contain a lobster later) with water and put all the green and yellow leaves into it. Cover and put this stock to boil for a minimum of 15-20 minutes.
§ With a knife and/or a vegetable peeler, peel the stems to remove the stringiest part, and cut it in small 3-4 mm thick discs. Keep them in the lemon water, and throw all the trims in the boiling water.
§ Trim the heart in order to remove all the green tough part, then, with a mandolin, cut the hearts in a dozen of thin slices, keep them in the lemon water, and throw all the trims in the boiling water.
§ Sauté the artichoke stem discs in olive oil with garlic, S&P and set aside those croutons for the bisque.
§ Deep fry a dozen of small purple artichoke leaves, and set aside those chips for the bisque.
§ Deep fry the artichoke heart slices to make chips for the napoleon and the risotto.
2 Preparation of the lobsters
§ Plunge a lobster into the boiling artichoke stock, head and claws first, holding firmly its tail folded. Although it is killed immediately, maintain it like that for around 30 seconds to avoid erratic spasms of the tail. Put the lid on, remove the pot from the burner and leave it like that for 8 minutes (adjust depending on the lobster sizes). Take it out of the water and cool it down in iced water. Put the water back to boil, and renew the same process with the second lobster.
§ During all the following process, collect and keep preciously all the tomalley, liquids, organs, roe in the lobsters or that may leak out from the lobsters. Keep also all the empty shells and carapaces. For each lobster, twist the claws, the small legs, and the head out, Remove the gills and the stomach (the tough translucent pocket) inside the heads, and crush them roughly. With a pastry rolling pin, extract the meat inside the little walking legs and reserve it. Take the tail, pinch it on all its length with your hand, in order to break each shell ring, and remove progressively the shell, one ring at a time. With a small knife, make a little incision on the tail back, around at the center, and grab the dark intestine with your fingers and remove it delicately. Cut the tail in 4 medallions and keep those between 2 parchment paper sheet with olive oil, a tiny bit of fleur de sel and Cayenne or Espelette.
§ Take the claws, separate the first articulations from the claw itself. Break the articulations with a nutcracker, extract the meat and put aside. Hit the claws at different parts with the back of a butcher knife. If the claws are not overcooked, which should be the case here, the meat, including the red “fingers” inside each jaw, will get out quite easily. Just proceed delicately. Cut the claw meat in two, thick-wise, which will allow you to remove the inside cartilage if it doesn’t get out naturally, and keep those between 2 parchment paper sheet with olive oil, a tiny bit of fleur de sel and Cayenne or Espelette.
3 Preparation of the foie gras
Easier than the lobsters! Just place them in the freezer ½ hour before cooking them.
4 Preparation of the beets
§ Peel the yellow beets.
§ With a mandolin slicer, cut 6 ~3 mm thick slices in the first beet, and with a cookie cutter, shape 6 discs of a diameter of 1.5" to 2" approximately. No problem if they are of different sizes as this will create a pyramid effect to the lobster napoleon.
§ Using the julienne blade of your mandolin slicer, cut in long sticks (julienne) the second beet and the remaining part of the first one. Align these sticks together and cut them in segments of ~5 mm (somewhat, the length of a cook rice seed). Keep this yellow beet “rice” in a bowl, with olive oil, salt and 1 tsp of turmeric, and reserve.
5 The Bisque
§ Put the butter in a pan, big enough to contain all the shells and carapaces (although they are empty, it represents quite a volume), and heat it on medium high. When melted, add the onion, the bay leaves, thyme stems… and let the onion become translucent and the herbs infuse in the butter. Add the lobster heads and all the empty shells and carapaces (except the tail fan that you will keep as a decoration), stir them up so that they are coated with butter. Add the Cognac and flambé it (you can add a glass of wine instead and let the alcohol evaporate). Add 5 ladles of the artichoke stock and let simmer. After 15 minutes, withdraw a quantity equivalent to 2 ladles and keep it warm (you will use it for your yellow beet risotto). Let reduce for another 15 minutes. Strain this broth, squeezing all those shells to extract the maximum of juice and flavors. The shells are now good to pitch. Add the meat extracted from the walking legs and the claw first articulations. Add the tomalley, liquids, organs, roe previously reserved. Put the whole to boil, then simmer and let reduce for around 15/20 minutes. Adjust the seasoning. Put the whole in a high speed mixer and mix it, increasing progressively the speed, for around 1 minute. Pour it in a bowl, add the crème fraîche and whisk it gently. Serve the bisque with the artichoke stem croutons and the artichoke leaf chips. Just keep the equivalent of 4 tbsp to use as a sauce for the napoleon.
6 The Napoleon
§ Take the foie gras cubes out of the freezer and sear them in a hot pan. Reserve and keep the rendered fat in the pan to roast the beet slices.
§ Roast the yellow beet slices in the foie gras rendered, on medium-high first, till the outside takes a nice golden brown color, then simmer them, on medium-low, for around 15 minutes till the inside becomes tender.
§ If need be, warm up the claw meat in their parchment paper, without cooking them.
§ Assemble the napoleon, for instance: The widest beet slice on the bottom, then the 2 halves of a smaller (cutting) claw with a cube of foie gras, a smallest beet slice, the half of a big (crushing) claw and a cube of foie gras, a smallest beet slice, the 2nd half of a big (crushing) claw and a cube of foie gras, an artichoke heart chip.
§ Spread 2 tbsp of bisque around as a sauce.
7 The Risotto
§ Except that the rice is made of yellow beets, it is cooked exactly like a risotto. Just the quantity of broth used is different. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a pan, on medium. When hot, add the shallot. When the shallot is translucent, add the beet rice and stir it so that it is coated by the olive oil. Add the wine and let it boil to evaporate the alcohol. Then, add 1/2 ladle of the reserved lobster/artichoke and simmer on low-medium. Complete regularly with a 1/2 ladle of broth till you obtaining the expected texture, al dente, like for a “normal risotto”, and like for a “normal risotto”, it should take around 20 minutes. Add 1 tsp of turmeric and the saffron, stir up, add 1 tbsp of butter, stir up, and add the grated Grana Padano (I chose the latter that I find subtler, less powerful than classic Parmesan, so that it doesn’t prevail on the lobster, the beet, the saffron…), stir up.
§ Rapidly roast in the oven the lobster medallions in olive oil to warm it up, with a tiny bit of turmeric and saffron.
§ Shape the risotto like a rectangle, place the lobster medallions and the artichoke heart chips on top of it, alternating lobster and artichoke, so that it looks a bit like a lobster tail with its shell, and reinforce this effect by placing the tail fan at one end… Spread some turmeric around…
|Lobster bisque, artichoke stem croutons, artichoke leaf chips
|Napoleon of lobster claws poached in an artichoke leaf broth, seared foie gras dices, yellow beet slices roasted in the foie gras fat, topped with an artichoke heart chip, and lobster bisque as a sauce
|Yellow beet risotto, cooked in an artichoke broth, turmeric and saffron, lobster tail medallions, poached in an artichoke leaf broth poached and rapidly seared in olive oil, artichoke heart chip, and lobster bisque as a sauce