BUTTER-POACHED MAINE LOBSTER, RICOTTA GNUDI, BRAISED GEM LETTUCES

SPRUCE – Chef Mark Sullivan

20 ounces lobster meat
16 pieces oven-dried tomatoes
16 pieces ricotta gnudi
4 ounces lobster jus
4 pieces braised little gem lettuce

BUTTER-POACHED LOBSTER
Three 1/4-pound lobsters
Beurre monté (recipe below)

METHOD
In a large pot of boiling water, cook lobsters for 3 minutes. Remove from water and submerge into ice bath. When cool, remove lobster head. Using kitchen shears, cut shell to remove tail and claw meat. Reserve bodies for lobster jus. Over medium-low heat, poach the lobster tails and claws in beurre monté. Cook the lobster for a total of 5 minutes, turning twice. it is recommended that the lobster is cooked immediately before serving.

BEURRE MONTÉ
1/4 cup water
2 cups butter, cold and cubed

METHOD
In a medium pot over medium- low heat, bring water to a simmer. Add 2 small cubes of butter to water and whisk until combined. Continue whisking in butter until the water and butter are emulsified together. Keep beurre monté on low heat until ready for use. It is important not to let it boil or it will separate.

LOBSTER JUS
1/4 cup canola oil
2 large yellow onions, thinly sliced
1 large bulb fennel, thinly sliced
3 large carrots, grated
3 stalks of celery, thinly sliced
1 large tomato, diced (or tomato paste)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 bouquet garnis (3 sprigs tarragon, 4 sprigs parsley, 2 sprigs thyme, 1 bay leaf, 3 white peppercorns, tied in cheese cloth)
1 bottle white wine
5 pounds lobster bodies or shrimp shells
Water

METHOD
In a large stockpot with a lid, heat 1/4 cup canola oil. over medium-low heat, sweat onions, fennel, carrots, celery and garlic while covered, about 20 minutes. Uncover and add white wine. Bring to a simmer and reduce by 1/3. Once reduced, add water and lobster or shrimp shells, tomato and bouquet garnis. Simmer for 30 minutes.
Discard bouquet garnis and blend using an immersion blender. Strain through a fine sieve. Over medium-low heat, reduce sauce to desired consistency.

GNUDI
30 ounces Bellwether Farms fromage blanc or ricotta cheese
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt

METHOD
Mix ingredients together, using extra flour, if needed. Using a small scoop or measuring spoon, portion dough into 1 tablespoon pieces. Roll into uniform balls. Place balls on a floured sheet tray and let air dry in refrigerator for at least 24 hours. Boil large pot of salted water. Cook gnudi for two minutes and strain. Do not cook gnudi until immediately before serving.

OVEN-DRIED TOMATOES
4 roma tomatoes
Extra-virgin olive oil
kosher salt

METHOD
Preheat oven to 250°F. Slice tomatoes in half and remove seeds. Using a half-sheet tray with a rack, place tomato halves skin-side down. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and pinch of salt. Bake for 2 hours. When cool, slice tomato halves into 3 strips.

BRAISED LITTLE GEM LETTUCES
4 heads little gem lettuce
2 cups chicken stock
4 tablespoons butter
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste

METHOD
Preheat oven to 350°F. Clean and slice each head of lettuce in half. Season with salt and pepper. In a large ovenproof saucepan over high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter. When bubbling, add 4 halves of lettuce, cut side down, and sear until golden brown. In a large ovenproof saucepan, continue process with remaining lettuce. Pour 1 cup of chicken stock into each of the sauce pans over lettuce and cook for 20 minutes, or until tender.

TO SERVE
In a shallow bowl, place 4 pieces of ricotta gnudi. Add 1 lobster tail, claw or pieces, followed by 2 halves of lettuce and oven-dried tomatoes. Spoon lobster jus over and around gnudi and vegetables, and serve.

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