Since this past weekend was Independence Day weekend, I thought I’d surprise my wife by doing a home cooked lobster dinner. Since she’s not real big on heated butter (apparently, she just does not like the aroma at all), I had to come up with a way to replace the traditional drawn butter. So my first thought was replacing the butter with the spicy lemon dressing sauce from Nobu that’s used in their lobster salad. But then I thought, “that’s too easy’; wouldn’t it be more fun if I could provide a selection of sauces and make the dish a little more interactive?” (think dipping sauces). So I went over to the Nobu restaurant website and saw that the lobster was offered with either the spicy lemon dressing or the wasabi pepper sauce. I also then discovered that Nobu LA (West Hollywood) offered the lobster paired the jalapeno dressing from their 2010 NY Eve’s omakase menu ( http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=41565461237 ).
All I had to do now was to pair a vegetable side dish with the sauces – immediately garlic sauteeed cabbage came to mind – I’d all ready paired the spicy lemon dressing and garlic wasabi sauce with the cabbage in earlier dishes (the discussion on the Spicy Lemon Dressing can be found at https://tastingmenu.wordpress.com/2011/03/11/crispy-skin-chicken-nobu-style/ and the discussion on the Garlic Wasabi Pepper Sauce can be found at https://tastingmenu.wordpress.com/2011/02/02/wasabi-pepper-sauce/
Would the garlic sauteed cabbage pair well with the jalapeno dressing? The pairing should work because the flavor combination had shown up in the seared scallop with jalapeno salsa and brussel sprouts from Nobu Now (the jalapeno dressing is mixed into the jalapeno salsa).
For the jalapeno dressing, I grabbed my copy of Nobu: The Cookbook and got together a fresh jalapeno, rice vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon of grated garlic, sea salt and grapeseed oil.
The processed jalapeno and vinegar will froth up. Add in the 1/2 teaspoon of finely grated garlic and 1 teaspoon of salt. mix well until the salt is dissolved and then add in 5 tablespoons of grapeseed oil.
It’d been years since I cooked a fresh lobster; the last time I did it, I remember using a boiling method while preparing butter poached lobster (see – http://www.labellecuisine.com/archives/surprise/Thomas%20Keller%20-%20A%20chef%20invents%20a%20lobster%20dish.htm). There is a wonderful discussion about that process at http://carolcookskeller.blogspot.com/2007/05/butter-poached-maine-lobster-with-leeks.html .
Fortunately, I came across an article in the Boston Globe about steaming it and how that method yielded a more tender lobster (see http://articles.boston.com/2011-06-29/lifestyle/29718227_1_maine-lobster-council-tail-meat-steamer-rack ). So I trooped on over to Legal Seafoods Market@Chestnut Hill to get the lobsters. While I was there, I was told by their market counter staff that when they steam the lobsters for the dishes served in the restaurant, they did not add any salt to the water. So, when I got home to cook the lobsters, I set up my steamer with a gallon of water, which I brought to a boil and loaded both levels of the steamer with 1 lobster each and steamed them for about 13 minutes (the lobsters were the 1 1/2 lb variety).
When everything was finished, the sauteed cabbage was plated onto a family style serving dish, and then I set up 2 sets of 3 condiment cups (each with the garlic wasabi pepper, jalapeno and spicy lemon dressings). I then extracted the lobsters (removed the rubber bands from their claws) from the steamer and plated them onto their separate serving dishes.
In retrospect, if I had done anything different, I think I would have also cut along the top length of the lobster tails with food shears just before serving or at the very least provided individual food shears. In any event, it was Indiependence Day weekend dinner my wife very much enjoyed.
Fresh lobster – Legal Seafoods Seafood Market, Chestnut Hill, MA (http://www.legalseafoods.com/restaurants/chestnut-hill-chestnut-hill-shopping-center)
Condiment Cups and Lobster Crackers – Crate And Barrel, The Mall At Chestnut Hill, Chestnut Hill, MA