This here is definitely one of my most accomplished dishes. I’ve had an ill-formed vision of this dish since I came upon the magic seafood reduction way back here. Although not yet complete, it’s a very strong foundation on which to build on. Everything on this plate screams decadence, from the fluffy soft gnocchi to the creamy rich seafood sauce and topped with the soft buttery pieces of the lobster tail. It might be missing another note, some freshness and some texture maybe. Recipe after the jump.
For the Gnocchi:
(serves about 12 first plate portions)
About 1 Kg of potatoes with the skin on
1.5-2 cups of all purpose flour
2 tsp of baking powder
1 large egg
1 egg yolk
lots of salt
Boil the potatoes with the skin on in water until very soft (approx 45min) the skin on keeps the nutritional value (and flavour) of the potato within during the process. Peel the potatoes once cooked and pass through a ricer or a sieve/tamis. Place the potatoes on a clean worktop in a mound shape and create a crater at the center of the mound, as you would with a normal pasta, and leave to cool until the potatoes are cool enough not to cook the eggs on contact. Place 3/4 of the flour, baking powder, egg and salt into the mound, and using a fork, bring the ingredients all together (again, as you would with a normal pasta). Quickly and lightly kneed into a ball of dough, it is important not to overwork it, so that you don’t end up with a thick stodgy dumpling. The dough should be moist, certainly wetter than a pasta dough, but should not be sticky. If you feel it’s a bit sticky, sprinkle with the remaining flour, 1 tbsp at a time until the dough feels right. Divide the ball of dough into 8 smaller balls. Cover the balls with a moist cloth so they don’t dry out while you work. One at a time, roll the balls into approx 1cm thick snakes and cut away individual gnocchi using a knife at 1.5cm intervals. (Optional) With the prongs of a fork, make impressions on the gnocchi, these will help the sauce adhere to the dumplings, but I generally prefer the look of an unmolested gnocchi.
As with regular pasta, dump the gnocchi in batches into a well salted pot of fast-boiling water. They will not take too long to cook at all, once the gnocchi rise to the surface, they’re ready to be removed using a slotted spoon. Once the water is drained, toss the gnocchi in some foaming butter for about 30 seconds or so to warm up just before serving.
For the sauce:
A. The lobster reduction:
2 lobster shells including the head, rougly chopped into smaller pieces
1 large celery stalk roughly chopped
1 large onion peeled and chopped into chunks
1 large tomato quartered
2 bay leaves
1/4 cup of brandy
1 sage leaf
1 tbsp of butter
1/3 cup of heavy cream
In a large pot, heat some olive oil over a high heat, when smoking, add the lobster shells and heads and saute until red and starting to caramelise about 5-7min. With a wooden spoon, tap the lobster heads to help them release their juices. Add the brandy, and let it boil over, scraping away any bits of deliciousness that might have become stuck to the bottom. Add all the other ingredients and enough water to cover everything and keep on a high heat until the stock starts to boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to a light simmer and leave to cook, uncovered for about 1 1/2 hours. Strain the sauce into a wide pan and over a high heat reduce until it’s thick and flavorful, about 1 1/2 hours again. Adjust seasoning along the way. Once the sauce has reduced to about a third, it’s going to be a thick sweet funky thing of beauty, add the lemon zest, whisk in the cream (add more cream if you feel necessary) and whisk in the butter. Your sauce is ready to go into the hollandaise.
100g of melted butter
1/2 a lemon
Salt and pepper
Place the eggs in a metal bowl over a pot of very lightly simmering water and whisk with the lemons until the yolks get fluffy and double in volume. Add the butter into the yolks in a thin stream while you whisk the eggs constantly until the butter gets completely absorbed and emulsified and the hollandaise thickens. Once the butter is all absorbed, continue whisking and then add the seafood reduction in the same manner. Keep whisking until the reduction is absorbed and the hollandaise thickens to the desired consistency. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper and maybe a squeeze of lemon if desired.
For the lobster tails:
2 lobster tails
50g of butter
Salt and pepper
Some lemon juice
Slice the lobster tails into 1.5cm thick slices, melt and heat the butter in a pan until the butter foams over a high heat, toss in the sliced tails, squeeze the lemon and season with salt and pepper. Toss the lobsters in the butter for just under 2mins. Place the gnocchi on a plate, along with a couple of lobster pieces and pour over the sauce until the lobster and gnocchi are swimming in that goodness. Hope you enjoy!