I have a major thing for lobster. I would say my feelings for lobster are on par with my feelings for chocolate. Whenever we’re at a nice restaurant that is fit to serve great lobster and it is mentioned while the specials are being read, my brain shuts down. My choice is made – lobster it is. This year for Valentine’s Day I learned how easy it is to make lobster at home (easy!) so I was ready to do more with it. This dish combines lobster, shrimp and cod pieces in a rich, flavorful cream sauce baked with a seasoned bread crumb topping.
Certainly more expensive and decadent than our average meal, I have had this earmarked in my mind for the occasion of selling our house. I’ve been waiting for months to try this dish but it did not disappoint. It received rave reviews from everyone who tried it and I think it really is the perfect entrée for special occasions. This was ideal for entertaining because I did all of the prep and assembly (minus the breadcrumb topping) early the day of our party and just refrigerated them until I was ready to bake them. It was very convenient. A reader mentioned this would be a nice dish for Mother’s Day and I think that sounds like a wonderful idea. Think Andrew can learn his way around the kitchen in time?
Yield: about 6 servings
1 cup clam juice
1 cup heavy cream
½ cup plus 3 tbsp. white wine, such as Chablis, divided
3 tbsp. tomato puree
1 lb. raw shrimp (26-30 per lb.), peeled and deveined
8-10 oz. raw cod, cut into 1-inch chunks
10-16 oz. cooked lobster meat, cut into 1-inch chunks
5 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature, divided
1 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. pepper
2 cups thinly sliced leeks, white and green parts
1 cup peeled, shredded carrots
½ cup Panko breadcrumbs
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tbsp. minced fresh parsley
2 cloves garlic, minced
Combine the clam juice, cream, white wine and tomato puree in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer, and add the shrimp. Let cook 1-2 minutes, the flip over and cook the other side until pink and opaque. Remove to a medium bowl with a slotted spoon. Add the pieces of cod to the stock mixture until just cooked through, about 3-4 minutes. Remove to the same plate with the shrimp using a slotted spoon. (Once the shrimp have cooled enough to handle, cut in half if desired and return to the bowl.) Add the cooked lobster to the bowl.
Continue to cook the sauce until reduced by half, about 12 minutes. Combine 1 tablespoon of the butter in a small bowl with the flour and mash together with a fork. Whisk the butter-flour mixture with the salt and pepper into the sauce and continue to simmer, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
In a medium sauté pan melt 3 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Add the leeks and carrots and cook for about 5 minutes, until softened. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of wine and season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes more.
Add the cream sauce and cooked vegetables to the bowl with the seafood and toss to blend well. Divide the mixture between individual gratin dishes. If not baking right away, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
When you are ready to bake the gratins, preheat the oven to 375˚ F. Place the filled gratin dishes on a baking sheet. Melt the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter in a small bowl. Add the Panko, parmesan, parsley and garlic to the bowl and toss with a fork to combine. Sprinkle the mixture evenly over the prepared gratins. Bake 20 minutes, until the top is browned and bubbling. Serve hot.