Phew! January has come and gone, which means that my tradition of sharing only Whole30 recipes during the month is over. While I think that Whole30 recipes are easy to make and fun to work with, I miss cooking with alcohol the most each January. So let’s dive right into February with an easy, tasty recipe that can be used in many different ways – lobster stock. Most people associate stock with long, boring hours of slow-cooking. The opposite is true with lobster (and all shellfish) stock, as it’s just a matter of sautéing vegetables and the shells, then adding water and wine, and cooking until it’s super delicious (about 45 minutes).
The folks at Lobster.com were kind enough to donate a lobster for my stock recipe. They ship overnight to the continental US, and it was quite an experience to receive a package in the mail that contains a live, breathing animal; not only was it alive, but it was the most lively lobster I’ve ever worked with! I par-boiled the lobster (instructions in the recipe below) so that I could use its shell for stock, and its meat for a Lobster and Mussel Bouillabaisse. I bought a couple lobster shells from my local grocer to add to this recipe and I was amazed at how thick and hearty the Lobster.com shell was compared to what I usually buy!
I was also able to arrange a giveaway through Lobster.com: two 1.5 lb live lobsters, delivered to your door ($65 value)! To enter, click here to enter via Rafflecopter. The giveaway is limited to continental US residents and ends midnight, Saturday, Feb 8th, 2014. Good luck! Okay, let’s move on to the recipe.
3 whole lobsters or 2 lbs lobster bodies and tail shells with gills and tomalley removed
3 tbsp butter or olive oil
2 small onions, skins included, cut in half
2 stalks celery, leaves included, coarsely chopped
5 sprigs fresh thyme
5 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tbsp black peppercorns
1 cup dry white wine
3 quarts water
1. Many stores sell lobster tail and body shells, or you may have some carcasses from a previous lobster feast; if so, skip directly to Step #2. If using live or whole uncooked lobsters, par-boil them for 3 minutes in salty water (the water should taste like the ocean), then immediately place in an ice water bath to stop the cooking process. After 10 minutes, remove the lobsters from the ice water bath, then remove the claws (all the way to the shoulder) and tail meat; place in an airtight container in the fridge and use within 24 hours.
2. Prep your lobster bodies by removing the gills and tomalley (the yellow mustard-looking stuff). Tomalley is delicious, though possibly toxic if taken from a lobster that was harvested in contaminated waters. Tomalley can be used in many ways (some people add it to melted butter for dipping), but will create a grayish and smelly stock.
3. In a large stockpot, melt the butter over medium heat then add everything but the wine and water. Sauté, crushing the lobster shells with a wooden spoon, until aromatic, about 8 minutes. Pour in the wine and enough water to cover everything by at least 1/2″, about 3 quarts.
4. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to med/low and simmer for 45 minutes. Be careful not to overcook the broth, which can ruin the smell and taste.
5. Strain through a colander lined with 3 layers of cheesecloth, then cool. It will last a week in the fridge and up to six months in the freezer.
* Make a shellfish stock using the same method but with shrimp, crab, or crawfish shells (or a combination).
* Uses for lobster stock: soups (bisques especially) and braises are especially rich and delicious, and nothing beats making a risotto or paella using lobster stock.