Butter Poached Lobster with Lemongrass

Crab Dumplings and Butter Poached Lobster

A few weeks ago my boyfriend surprised me with tickets for a jazz concert. It was my first time experiencing live jazz and the band was great. My boyfriend loves jazz and was excited that venue is just blocks from his new apartment. Over the past few weeks he’d been getting more and more involved in his music.

Outside of the concerts we’d been going to, we’d spent hours at audio stores testing out different sound systems. Slowly but surely my boyfriend’s becoming something of an audiophile. Finally at Stereo Exchange, one of those only in New York specialty stores devoted to high-end sound equipment, he decided he had to move to vinyl. This won nods of approval from the sales guys at Stereo Exchange who will tell you that only records can give you the best listening experience. I’m a bit skeptical. I see the portability of MP3′s and convenience of iTunes and major pluses. Also I worry our future weekends will be taken up with trips to record stores all over town until he builds up his collection.

Perry Street booth

Last night we attended another concert and things got off to an awkward start when the performers took ten minutes to appear on stage after they were announced. Then the movie montage that opened the show didn’t sync correctly with the audio and things went down hill from there.

Perry Street

When they called intermission Reed looked over to ask if I wouldn’t mind leaving early. Problems with the microphones and sound system were ruining the performance for him. I was happy to leave but I just wanted to get to Perry Street, one of my favorite restaurants in the city.

When we arrived at nine, the place was packed. Our reservation wasn’t until ten so I really appreciated that the hostess seemed totally earnest when she said she would try to seat us early… she just had to get her 9:00 and 9:30 reservations seated first.

We got drinks at the bar and were lucky when at couch in the lounge opened up. Perry Street is a great place for people watching so the hour past quickly and promptly at ten the hostess showed us to our table.

I was boring and ordered the same dish I had last time but the butter poached lobster with lemongrass and kaffir lime just makes me so happy. I stole one of my boyfriend’s crab dumplings and it was delicious. He said his cheeseburger was too but I didn’t try any. For dessert we split the ‘candy bar’. It’s the type of dessert I love to order when I’m out because it’s so complicated I’d never make it at home. There’s layer upon layer of different mousses and nougats and that’s all topped with more goodies. Yum.

I can’t make the recipe for this post until my see my fearless boyfriend at home on the weekend (which isn’t for another three weeks L) when there’s time to get busy with butter poaching. I’ve sorted out the recipe but I’m ashamed to admit that I’m too squeamish to put the lobsters in the pot myself. As a child we found out my whole family felt the same way when everyone backed out of putting them in the pot. We drove the lucky lobsters down to the ocean and set them free… and never did lobster again. However Reed volunteered to be the executioner. Secretly I think he just wants more lobster. I was a little stingy when I gave him some of my dish to try at Perry Street but when it’s so good and it’s a small portion, its hard to share.

An important tip for the butter poached lobster is to make sure the butter mixture doesn’t come to a boil – keep the heat low so that the butter emulsifies instead of breaking up.

Butter Poached Lobster with Lemongrass and Potato Ravioli (Serves 2)

  • 1 1/2 pound live lobster (or 2 uncooked lobster tails)
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/2 cup salted butter (1 stick), cut into 1 tablespoon chunks*
  • lemongrass
  • 1 kaffir lime leaf or zest of one lime
  • 8 potato ravioli or perogies, boiled
  • 1 cup baby bok choy leaves, steamed

For lobster tails: Use sharp kitchen shears to cut the shells all the way down the back. Turn over and cut the bottom of the shell all the way down. Peel off the shell and remove the meat.

For live lobsters: Bring a large pot of water to boil. Turn off heat and add the lobster. Cover and let cook for 3 minutes.

Remove all lobster meat from the shell and cut into large chunks.

In a saucepan, bring 1 tablespoon of water to simmer over medium-low heat. Whisk in 1 piece of butter. When butter has melted, add another piece. Continue with remaining butter pieces, one at a time. Make sure the mixture does NOT come to a boil; if it does the butter will separate.

Keeping the heat on medium-low, add the lobster pieces and cook for 5 minutes, turning the lobster pieces every minute or so. Make sure the mixture does not boil. Remove the lobster pieces.

In the same saucepan with the remaining butter add the lemongrass and kaffir lime leafs. When fragrant, remove from heat. Remove the lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves.

Arrange 4 potato ravioli in a square at the center of a shallow bowl. Divide the steamed boy choy and place on top of the ravioli to make a bed for the lobster. Divide the lobster and place on top of the boy choy. Gently pour the sauce into the bowl and serve immediately.

* I recommend using salted butter for this recipe because but if you’re using unsalted butter season the sauce with a bit of salt while cooking.