This gourmet dish featuring lobster and fresh vegetables from Laura Calder makes a delicious dish that’s pleasing to the eye and the taste buds.
Fill a large pot with water to come finger deep. Bring to a boil, put the lobsters in head first, and steam four minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water until cool enough to work with. Shell the lobsters, wrapping the meat and refrigerating until ready to use (you should have four intact claws and two tails which you can halve lengthwise). Reserve 12 lobster legs. Reserve the shells, but discard the body. Chop the shells to pieces with a mallet or in the food processor.
Heat half the butter in a large sauté pan and cook the onion until soft. Stir in the tomato paste and add the lobster shells. Pour over the Cognac and flame. When the flames have died down, pour over 3 cups/750 ml water, and cook until the liquid is reduced to 1-1/2 cups/375 ml. Strain, pressing down on the shells to extract all the juices. Return the juices to the sauté pan.
While the sauce is reducing, cook the vegetables, separately, in a pot of boiling salted water until al dente, 30 seconds to 2 minutes, depending on the vegetable. When each is done, lift to a strainer with a slotted spoon and immediately plunge into an ice bath to preserve the colour.
Bring the lobster stock in the sauté pan to a simmer, uncovered. Add the lobster and poach gently three minutes. Add the vegetables and continue to cook 2 minutes. Arrange half a tail and a whole claw in each of four soup plates. Divide the vegetables evenly around the meat. You should have about 1/4 cup/60 ml sauce per dish, so if you have too much boil it down, whisking in the remaining butter at the end. Taste and season with salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Ladle over the lobster and vegetables, scatter over chervil, and serve.