The perfect muscle meal

Pan-Roasted Lobster
Lobster is almost as high in protein as steak, but with less fat. You’ll need a firm hand and a strong stomach to do away with the clawed crustacean, but it’s worth every nourishing mouthful

On the subject of killing the thing: French chefs like to gently stroke their lobsters to sleep just before they plunge a knife through its head and rip off its tail. It’s like a Tony Soprano set-up: feed the guy some lasagne before he gets whacked. But in truth, it’s the most humane method and it causes instantaneous death (unlike throwing it in boiling water). Also, when lobsters are calm before their final farewell, the meat remains tender.
Preheat the oven to 230˚C. Bring a small pot of water to a simmer. You’ll need one live lobster – about 750g. Place the lobster on a board (put wet paper towels or a tea towel underneath, to keep the board from slipping). Hold the lobster gently by its tail and plunge a sharp, heavy knife straight down to the board at the cross located at the very top of the tail (about 10-12 centimetres below the eyes) and split up through its head. This kills it instantly, though there may still be some residual twitching. Now split lengthwise down to the tail, keeping the meat in the shell. Twist off the tiny legs and discard. Twist off the claws and set aside.
Remove and discard the black vein (intestinal channel) in the tail and the small gravel sack (the stomach). Some people love to eat the green liver (tomalley) mixed with butter and served with the lobster meat. Personally, I think it’s disgusting. Poach the claws for 2-3 minutes, let them cool for a moment, crack open the shells and remove the meat. Set aside. In a little hot olive oil, sear the lobster tail halves shell-side down in an oven-proof pan. They’ll turn red quickly – turn them over and sear the flesh side. Place the pan in the oven for several minutes, but don’t overcook. Slightly undercook, if anything – they’ll continue to roast while they rest. Sweat a teaspoon of finely chopped shallot gently in olive oil. Pour a little cognac into the pan while it’s off the heat. Bring the pan back to the burner – carefully – and burn off the alcohol.
Add about half a glass of white wine and the claw meat. Reduce the liquid to a few tablespoons. Now add a little butter – a small spoonful at a time (2-4 will be enough), gently shaking the pan back and forth until the sauce begins to thicken. Season with a bit of sea salt and ground pepper. Remove from heat and stir in some freshly chopped chives and tarragon. Spoon over the lobster.

Photo by Romas Foord Aug 12, 2010

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