I'd made a favorite classic summer meal for friends to have on my terrace of steamed lobsters, corn on the cob, farmers' market beefsteak tomatoes sliced with zahtar, baked potato and asparagus. I'd warn guests to wear old washable comfortable clothes.
But one of my oldest and dearest friends looked at the lobster and said, "Could you
please take it out of the shell, I am really not good at that?" I'd brought up all the sides
and then the lobster. And her husband said, "Oh, and can you do mine, too?" So I took them back to the kitchen to pick, while they ate up all the 'sides'. Clearly this was not going as planned and there would have to be changes made.
So I decided to figure out a way to serve the lobsters as though you
were eating them hot and dipped in drawn butter right out of the shell, but without the shells. I really didn't want to make the lobster 'into' any other dish. Just lobster. As I'd recently made fish en papillote, I decided why not lobster? I looked in all my zillion cookbooks and on-line and couldn't find anyone doing it. So here's what I did and those who few friends who have tried it so far, were in love with it. Saying it was moist, tender and absolutely delicious and just like you took it out of the shell and dipped it in butter! So simple...and especially since you can do it in advance and in stages and not be bothered at the last minute, which to me is the biggest plus. —Dee Kaufman
Steam as many lobsters as you plan to serve, or have your fish shop steam them for you.
Pick the meat from the lobsters. You can do this the afternoon before. And refrigerate.
Cut out parchment paper in the classic papillote shape, i.e. take a good sized length
of parchment paper, fold it in half, draw the half heart shape on the paper so that when you cut it out you are left with a wide-bodied heart shape with a fold down the center.
Cut up the arms and the tail, being sure to removed the intestinal track, into bite sized pieces. If you can remove the claws whole, place them on the top of the pile. If not, just cut them up, too. Put the pieces inside near the fold of the paper
in a pile. Sprinkle a tiny pinch of sea salt over them. Put the big hunks of unsalted butter on the top. Then add the sprig of fresh tarragon, if you have
it, if not don't worry about it. Top everything with two thin slices of fresh lemon.
Now crimp up the parchment paper to seal it. It is ready to go when you are.
You can refrigerate it for several hours or make it then.
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees and ten minutes before you wish to serve it, put
the packets into the oven on a sheet tray and heat for about 10 minutes. They are already cooked so you are only heating them through.
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. 10 minutes before you are ready to serve them pop them in the oven on a sheet pan just to heat through as they are already cooked to perfection. They will just poach in the butter so that they will be moist and tender and delicious. Just like when they came out of the shell and you dipped them in butter.
There is no need to parboil them, as they aren't really cooking again and never come out tough, dry or stringy. They are just succulent and not interfered with....
sea to table. Guests find this a very festive and elegant dish. Would be good
for dinner for two on New Year's Eve, as well as summertime.