You will savor every mouthful of this elaborate dish. Make it for an anniversary celebration or small dinner party. --Chez Pierre at the Charlotte Inn, Edgartown (Martha's Vineyard), Massachusetts
2 lobsters (1-1/2 pounds each)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup white wine
1/4 cup cognac
2 cups heavy cream, brought to a soft boil and reduced in volume to 1 cup
Drop lobsters in boiling water just until cracker claw turns red. Remove from water and cool. Separate tail, claws, and joints of lobsters. Turn tails over to expose undersides and by placing a large, sharp knife between the sections, cut each tail into 4 medallion-like sections, using sudden, cleaver-like motions. With poultry shears, cut underside of each claw and remove enough of the shell so that meat is well exposed.
In a skillet, heat the butter and wine, then add lobster sections, larger pieces first; smaller last for even cooking. Sauté until lobster turns bright red and flesh is white. (One dozen scrubbed and de-bearded mussels may also be added. They will open when cooked and then should be used as a garnish on either side of lobster.
Remove skillet from heat source, add cognac, and light with a match. Flambé until flame extinguishes. Return to heat only briefly and gently. Shake pan to incorporate flavors. Remove lobster and keep warm.
Add reduced cream to the pan and season with a dash of cayenne pepper. Reduce by half or until a light golden color.
To serve, arrange each lobster attractively on a heated dinner plate. Strive to reassemble lobster as much as possible. Tail sections should be replaced, in order, with joints on either side, ending in claws, which are placed with the exposed part on the bottom. Serve with sauce on the side or in individual ramekins; place parsley sprig in each claw and serve immediately.