Recipe: Lobster Vadouvan, Udon
Chef: Ludo Lefebvre
Restaurant: Petit Trois, Trois Mec, Ludo Bird, Los Angeles
8 quarts water
2/3 cup distilled white vinegar
2 tablespoons kosher salt
3 each live whole Maine lobsters (about 1 1/2 pounds each)
3 tablespoons salted butter
2 tablespoons clarified butter
3 tablespoons acacia honey
2 each shallots, very thinly sliced
2 tablespoons unsweetened rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons purified water
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 each lemons, segmented
2 each oranges, segmented
2 each pink grapefruits, segmented
freshly ground white pepper
6 ounces dried udon noodles
6 each baby bok choy
2 ounces enoki mushrooms, ends trimmed
6 each baby rainbow carrots, very thinly sliced lengthwise
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 tablespoons Vadouvan (see recipe)
Fleur de sel
freshly ground white pepper
To prepare the lobsters:
Combine the water, vinegar, and salt in a large pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Once the water boils, add 1 lobster and immediately turn off the heat. Let the lobster cook gently in the hot water for 3 minutes. The lobster will be medium-rare at this point, which is what you want since the meat will be sautéed later. Remove the lobster from the hot water and immediately place it in a large bowl of ice water to cool. Repeat with the remaining 2 lobsters, returning the water to a boil before placing each in the water.
Remove the tail, claw and knuckle meat, keeping the tail and claw meat intact. Discard the shells. Cover the lobster meat and keep it refrigerated until ready to serve.
To make the broth:
Bring the honey to a boil in a heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in the shallots, then deglazed with the rice vinegar and sherry vinegar. Stir in the 2 cups of water, and slowly bring it to a boil. Mix the cornstarch in a small bowl with 2 tablespoons of water to form a smooth thick paste. Gently whisk the cornstarch mixture into the boiling water, and continue whisking for 1 minute to blend it well. Then add all the citrus segments, and simmer gently for 25 minutes, or until the broth reduces and forms a nice light sauce and the citrus segments break apart. Season the broth to taste with salt and white pepper.
To make the vadouvan butter:
Slowly melt the butter in a heavy small saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the vadouvan, salt, and white pepper. Remove the pan from the heat and let infuse for 10 minutes.
Cook the bok choy in a heavy large pot of boiling salted water just until crisp-tender, about 1 minute. Using tongs, transfer the bok choy to a plate and set aside. Return the water to a boil and cook the noodles until they are al dente, stirring often, about 4 minutes. Drain and set the noodles aside.
Meanwhile, heat the clarified butter in a large nonstick sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add all the lobster meat and sauté for 2 minutes on each side. Add the salted butter, and baste the lobster pieces with the melted butter until the lobster meat is just cooked through, about 1 minute. Using tongs, transfer the lobster meat to a baking sheet lined with paper towels to absorb any excess butter. Season the lobster with salt and pepper.
Reheat the broth over medium-high heat, if necessary. Add the noodles, bok choy, mushrooms, and carrots, and simmer for 2 minutes. Season the broth to taste with salt and pepper.
Divide the broth, vegetables, and noodles among 6 wide soup plates. Top with the lobster meat and drizzle the vadouvan butter all over. Serve immediately.
Makes about 2 cups
2 pounds onions, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 pounds shallots, peeled and halved
12 each garlic cloves, peeled
1/4 cup grapeseed oil
1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1 tablespoon thinly sliced fresh curry leaves (optional)
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
3/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon hot red-pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
Working in 3 batches, pulse the onions in a food processor until they are coarsely chopped. Transfer the onions to a bowl after each batch is pulsed. Repeat with the shallots then the garlic.
Heat the oil in a deep 12-inch heavy nonstick skillet over high heat until it shimmers, then add the onions, shallots, and garlic and sauté until they are golden and browned in spots, 25 to 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, position the rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a heavy large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
Grind the fenugreek seeds in a clean coffee grinder or with a mortar and pestle. Stir the ground fenugreek into the onion mixture along with remaining ingredients.
Transfer the onion mixture to the prepared baking sheet and spread the mixture as thinly and evenly as possible over the baking sheet. Bake, stirring occasionally with a skewer to separate the onions, until well browned and barely moist, about 1 hour. Cool completely.