And now, for the rest of the story…
Most of us are too young to remember this immortal tag line from the seemingly immortal radio journalist Paul Harvey (he always pronounced it “HARR–vay”). This utterance signaled the listener that Paul was ready to fill in the blanks on the story he had been meandering through in his inimitable, folksy, cold clipped style. Now that we demonstrated the basics of bisque poaching in the lead article on this subject, we’re going to fill in a couple of our own blanks, while we stretch it out to show just how far forward it can lean.
“After a word from our sponsors,” Paul would say, as the story drew closer to the dramatic and uplifting end. We don’t HAVE sponsors, of course. Oh, well, a man has to dream, and that was the sort of story that Paul was always telling; mildly ironic, humorous anecdotes about the unyielding pluck of the common man, reminiscent of Readers’ Digest short and sweets. This may seem a little Pollyannic by modern standards; be that as it may, Paul was an icon.
Let’s shock some Lobsters
We are going to pre-treat the lobster tails with a tiny bit of Transglutaminase, which is a naturally occurring enzyme that temporarily weakens the protein matrix bonds of raw meat. After a few hours, the enzyme itself dissipates, and the meat retains the shape that it was formed into. TG has many applications in the food business, and is arguably abused by producers who desire to make one thing appear as if it was something else, but we can’t blame the enzyme for that. Used in very simple applications, it can really dress up some presentations. The very simplest application would be using TG to make that strip of bacon stay wrapped around the Filet Mignon w/o using a toothpick to hold it all together.
TG is not commonly available in your local market, but is readily available on line from places like Amazon.com. It appears to be expensive, but just a little bit goes a loooooong way, and it degrades quickly unless it is kept sealed, frozen, and away from light. Don’t buy a case, get the smallest amount available. Our own bodies manufacture transglutaminase, although it is primarily produced through the metabolism of certain micro-organisms. It is also being researched as a possible therapeutic treatment to repair damaged arteries and blood vessels.
- Lobster tails, as described in the previous article, 2 each.
- Lobster bisque, again, as previously described, 2 oz.
- Butter lettuce, sliced thin, 1 oz.
- EVOO, little bit.
- Lemon wedge, the smallest you can slice.
- Fresh Mint, 1 large sprig
- Mustard sauce, 1 oz. combined with
- Ginger Bisque, (cold), 1 oz.
- Parsley, chopped. Little bit.
- After removing the meat from the shell as described in the previous article, sprinkle about a fourth of a teaspoon of TG on two lobster tails.
- I strongly recommend that you wear gloves.
- TG is safe, but it may irritate your skin as a natural course of its intended action.
- Fashion the tails into a disk, using a biscuit cutter (coincidence?) or other suitably shaped form. Make sure it sits flat, and refrigerate over night.
- The next day, it will hold its shape well, but I leave it in the ring and process it with some of the bisque, in the Ziploc Quart Bag.
- Shock it cold as we have come to do habitually, and you get this.
- This is so beautiful, I just have to share a few different angles.
- Every pic consumes a little memory, you know, and memory is not free.
- Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!
- The color, I just can’t think of another food that shares that hue.
- I dunno, maybe carrot.
- Then why do I feel different looking at this than I do when I look at a carrot?
- And I LIKE carrots.
C’était comme un rêve (it was like a dream).
- I have heard so many great chefs say that their greatest successes were among the simplest imaginable. Bocuse has a famous story about walking home through an open air market in Dijon, picking up some very fresh green beans as an afterthought and preparing them in a very simple manner when he got home.
- Doing so, he changed his whole outlook on cooking, freshness, and style, and the restaurant industry’s as well.
- In that one moment, Bocuse earned at least partial credit for creating Nouvelle Cuisine, with all of its subsequent outgrowths.
- That’s how much influence the man has.
- Oh, right. I kind of drifted off there.
- Cut the lobster disk in quarters.
- Pile the lettuce strips as high as you can at the 12 o’clock position on the plate.
- Drizzle with a bit of EVOO, sprinkle with S+P.
- Set the lemon wedge on top, that is your Bocuse-ish vinaigrette right there.
- Arrange the lobster pieces from the 3 o’clock position across to the 9 o’clock position.
- Pour a little pool of the mustard sauce+bisque in front of the lobster.
- Drizzle with a little truffle oil. That’s optional, it was gifted, but I like it.
- Sprinkle chopped parsley over the top.
- Garnish with the mint sprig.
It’s enough to make a grown man cry, I tell ya.
- Now that’s a money shot.
- So simple.
- No story board, no artist’s impressions, I just laid it out.
- This kind of stuff just presents itself.
- Writers say that sometimes, that they don’t really do the work.
- The story writes itself, they just scrawl it down.
- I don’t know about that.
- Like the French, for “the end.”