Food Schmooze: New Year's Eve Dinner: Truffle Butter Lobster with Linguini
From Faith Middleton: Crack open the champagne… prepare for a mind-blowing experience. Truffle butter lobster combines chardonnay, vermouth, shallots, heavy cream, ginger, mushrooms, and, of course, black truffle butter, available at gourmet stores and markets, or online from D'Artagnan.
This recipe, from the cookbook, Fish, calls for traditional linguini, though you can make this dish gluten-free by using brown rice or gluten free pasta. (I'm a fan of Jovial brown rice pasta from Tuscany, the closest to the real thing, and organic to boot.)
While this dish isn't one of our five-minute wonders, a little work pays off in a staggering way; it's the perfect special dish for New Year's Eve or any celebratory evening. (You want romance? This is it, baby.)
Two 1½-lb. live Maine lobsters
2 cups dry white wine, such as sauvignon blanc or unoaked chardonnay
¼ cup dry vermouth
2 bay leaves
3 carrots, peeled and halved lengthwise
1 onion, peeled and quartered
3 large, leafy sprigs fresh parsley
3 bushy sprigs fresh thyme
1 thumb-length piece fresh ginger, peeled
3 ribs celery with leaves, halved lengthwise
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 medium shallot, minced
1 lb. mushrooms, such as maitake, cremini, chenterelle, or a mix (do not use portobellos or shitakes)
1 ½ to 2 cups heavy cream
6 Tbsp. black truffle butter (not truffle oil!)
1 lb. dried or fresh linguine, cooked al dente in unsalted water
¼ cup chopped fresh chervil
- Set up a steamer basket in a large stockpot over high heat and fill the stockpot just up to the steamer basket with the wine, vermouth, bay leaves, and water. Set the lobsters in the pot, cover, and steam for 7 to 10 minutes, or until the shells of the lobsters are dappled a deep orange color. Remove the lobsters with tongs and set aside to cool. Once cool enough to handle, crack the shells and pick out the lobster meat, keeping the pieces as large as possible and reserving the shells.
- Return the cracked shells to the stockpot, mashing them with a wooden pestle or spoon, or using a cracker to break apart the large pieces of shell. Add the carrots, onion, parsley, thyme, ginger, and celery. Cover the shells and vegetables with water—just—and set over high heat. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, and skim off any scum that rises to the top. Simmer for 1 hour, uncovered, stirring occasionally. Strain the stock and return the liquid to the pot. Set over medium heat and reduce for another 30 minutes, or until there’s about 2 cups of liquid. Set aside.
- To finish the sauce, set a large sauté pan over medium heat with the butter, shallot, and mushrooms. Cook for 5 to 8 minutes, or until the shallot softens and the mushrooms begin to wilt and give up their fragrance. Do not add any salt. Next, add the stock and 1½ cups cream and reduce by half. Taste the sauce—if it’s too salty, add a little more cream. To finish the sauce, add the truffle butter and the reserved lobster meat. Cook just until the butter melts and the lobster is just warm.
- Toss the pasta with 1 cup of the liquid from the sauce. Portion the pasta into bowls, and then distribute the lobster meat and mushrooms from the bottom of the pan. Finish each portion with a sprinkling of chervil and the faintest bit of white pepper.
FISH NOTE: Never buy precooked lobsters at the grocery store—they likely died and were then cooked. Grim but true. You can pick out a lively lobster and ask the store to cook it for you, however. Just make sure the lobster you picked out live is the lobster you leave with. Ask for it lightly cooked, 8 to 10 minutes, depending on size. Substitute shrimp if you prefer; make the reduction with the shells and heads, if you have them.
(NOTE from Faith and Chris: To lighten the cream, use more lobster broth and ¼ cup cream.)
Recipe taken from Fish: 54 Seafood Feasts by Cree LaFavour, published by Chronicle Books, 2013.
Champagne Party Punch
Our pals at Epicurious tell us 100 percent of those who made this punch said they would make it again and again. It's stress-free way to make your guests happy. (Feel free to halve the ingredients for a party of 8.)
1 cup triple sec 1 cup brandy
½ cup chambord
2 cups unsweetened pineapple juice
1 quart ginger ale (chilled)
1 bottle dry champagne or dry sparkling wine (Not too pricey)
In a bowl combine triple sec, brandy, chambord, and pineapple juice. Chill covered at least four hours or overnight. Just before party time, fill a large punch bowl with the triple sec mixture; add ginger ale, sparkling wine, and ice cubes.
Holiday Gift Suggestions:
Chris's gift idea:
Crock-Pot Hook Up Connectable Entertaining System
Lori's gift idea:
Hand Held Lemon Squeezer
Jonathan's gift idea:
Portable Soda Maker
Faith's gift ideas:
Faith Middleton Food Schmooze Martini Competition in June, 2014 (email firstname.lastname@example.org)
John Boos Cutting Boards
No sharpening knife
Brownie and lasagna Pan that makes edges
Ariston Olive Oil, Vinegars, preserves, Olives from Greece
White Flower Farm
Chocolate sable cookies, Mary's Marvelous
Products from Italy
Grow Your Own Mushroom Kits
Beeswax Dripless Candles
Connecticut Made and Grown Products
Beer Chilling Device
Apple Pie Baked in a Paper Bag
Home Cooked Dinners Across Italy
Jeff Runquist California Wines, especially Barbera
Tuna Steaks with Jalapeno-Cumin Butter
Toast some seeds in a cast-iron pan for a minute or two, mix with butter and shallots, and you're ready to go. The beauty of this dish, which has some kick, is that a small amount of butter is used as a flavoring agent. (Faith says you could also use it on beef steak or chicken.) (Serves 4)
¼ cup peanut or vegetable oil
Four 6-ounce yellowfin tuna steaks, about 1 inch thick
2 teaspoons KOSHER salt (not table salt)
2 tablespoons cumin seeds
Jalapeno-cumin butter (see recipe below)
4 lime wedges
- Prepare the Jalapeno-Cumin Butter in advance (see below.)
- Preheat the oven to 175° degrees. Use a dab of oil to rub the steaks all over and liberally salt both sides. Sprinkle one side of each steak with cumin seeds.
- Heat one large cast-iron pan over high heat. Let the pan get very hot before adding the oil. once you do add the oil, wait for it to shimmer before you put the tuna steaks in the pan, cumin-side up. Cook 3–4 minutes and turn. Cook the cumin side for only one minute. Transfer to a plate and place 1 tablespoon of the Jalapeno-Cumin butter on each steak before resting it for 3 minutes in the 175° degree warming oven. Finish with a squeeze of lime.
4 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1 shallot, chopped
2 tablespoons cumin seeds, toasted and ground
1 tablespoon coriander seeds, toasted and ground
1 jalapeno with seeds, minced (3 tablespoons)
- Heat a dry cast-iron skillet over medium heat until it's hot. Add the coriander and cumin seeds and stand there watching them until they give off an aroma; they're almost done. as soon as they darken, remove from the heat. When they cool, buzz them in a coffee grinder.
- In a small bowl, mash together the butter, shallot, the toasted seeds, and jalapeno. Set aside.
Recipes taken from Fish: 54 Seafood Feasts by Cree LaFavour, published by Chronicle Books, 2013.
- Chris Prosperi - senior contributor and chef/owner, Metro Bis, Simsbury
- Cree LaFavour - author of Fish: 54 Seafood Feasts