Jasper White's Home-Style Lobster Stew
Yield: approximately 7 cups
- 3 hard shell or 4 new shell live 1-pound chicken lobsters or about 14 ounces cooked lobster meat
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon sweet Hungarian paprika
- freshly ground black pepper
- 4 cups Hood
Equipment: You will need a large steam pot to cook the lobsters, a deep 10- or 12-inch skillet, a set of tongs, and a ladle.
Making Ahead: Since this dish literally takes minutes, the only thing you really need to prepare ahead is the lobsters. That being said, you can make lobster stew, from start to finish, and keep it refrigerated for up to 2 days.
1. Steam the lobsters for 8 minutes total. Using tongs, remove the lobsters to a pan or platter and let cool to room temperature. When cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the tails, knuckles and claws, reserving any liquid from the lobster. Cut the meat into large 3/4-inch chunks. Remove any roe from the female lobsters, coarsely chop it and add it to the lobster meat. You may also pick the meat from the carcasses and the walking legs; otherwise, wrap and freeze them for later use.
2. About an hour before serving the stew, drain the chunks of lobster so that they are somewhat dry, reserving the juice. Over medium heat, warm a deep 10- or 12-inch skillet (you want plenty of surface area). Melt the butter in the pan. When it is foamy add the lobster meat with the roe and sizzle it gently for about 1 minute. Turn the pieces with tongs and cook 1 minute more. The butter will have a red color. Sprinkle with paprika and grind a little fresh pepper over the lobster meat. Reduce the heat to low and cook 1 minute more.
3. Pour the milk and cream over the lobster. Let it heat slowly until the stew is hot, but not quite boiling, about 5 minutes. Do not boil. Remove from the heat and let the stew sit for a minimum of 30 minutes. The sitting time is crucial for it allows the flavors to expand and the stew to transform itself from good to great. If the stew isn't to be eaten within an hour, refrigerate it after it is at room temperature. Cover it with plastic wrap after it is completely chilled.
4. To serve, return the stew to low heat. Season again with pepper and a little salt, if needed. When the stew is very hot, but not boiling, ladle it into warmed cups or bowls and sprinkle with chopped chives and chervil. Serve immediately.