Lobster à la Nage
Eberhard Müller has been preparing lobster this way for 20 years, at restaurants including Manhattan's Le Bernardin, Lutèce, and Bayard's.
Yield: serves 4
- 5 tomatoes, cored
- 6 small yellow onions, peeled
- 6 medium carrots, peeled and trimmed
- 6 ribs celery, trimmed and chopped
- 6 small leeks, trimmed and washed
- 2 branches rosemary
- 2 branches thyme
- 1⁄4 tsp. black peppercorns
- 12 coriander seeds
- 6 whole cloves
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 Tbsp. sugar
- 1⁄4 tsp. cayenne
- 3 cups dry white wine
- 1 1⁄2 cups white wine vinegar
- Fronds from 4 branches fennel
- 2 sprigs sprigs basil
- Leaves from 1/2 bunch mint
- Leaves from 1/2 bunch tar
- Coarsely chop 4 of the tomatoes, 4 of the onions, 4 of the carrots, 4 of the celery ribs, and 4 of the leeks and put into a stockpot. Add rosemary, thyme, peppercorns, coriander, cloves, bay leaf, sugar, cayenne, and 8 quarts water, season to taste with salt, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until vegetables are soft, about 1 hour. Add wine and vinegar and simmer 1 hour more. Remove pot from heat, add fennel fronds, basil, and about 10 of the mint leaves, and set aside to steep for 5 minutes. Strain stock (nage) into a large wide pot, discarding solids. Season to taste with salt and simmer over medium heat.
- Peel and chop the remaining tomato and set aside. Thinly slice the remaining 2 onions, 2 carrots, 2 celery ribs, and 2 leeks, add to simmering nage, and cook, stirring often, until just cooked through, about 5 minutes. Transfer vegetables with a slotted spoon to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap to keep warm, and set aside. Keep nage warm over low heat.
- Finely chop half the mint, tarragon, chervil, and chives, then put half of the finely chopped herbs into a small pot, setting the other half aside. Add 1⁄2 cup of the nage to pot with herbs and heat over medium heat. Whisk in butter, a few pieces at a time, until mixture is emulsified. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into another small pot, discarding solids. Stir in the remaining finely chopped mint, tarragon, chervil, and chives. Keep herb butter warm over lowest heat.
- Bring nage to a boil over high heat. Kill lobsters by plunging the tip of a large kitchen knife into back of lobster's head. Add lobsters to nage and boil until cooked through, 10-15 minutes. Transfer lobsters to a cutting board, split lengthwise, remove head sac, and crack claws.
- To serve, arrange lobsters, cut side up, in 4 deep oval warm serving dishes. Scatter the reserved vegetables and chopped tomato over lobsters, then ladle 1⁄4 cup of the nage over each (save remaining nage for another use) Coarsely chop the reserved mint, tarragon, chervil, and chives and scatter over vegetables. Pour some of the herb butter over each.