Maine Lobster a L’Americaine

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Ingredients

2 each 1½ lb. live Maine lobsters
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 each onion chopped
3 each shallots, finely chopped
2 each cloves garlic, shopped
1/4 cup Cognac or other brandy
3 each tomatoes, peel, seed and chop
3 tablespoons parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon tarragon, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoon thyme, chopped
1/2 each bay leaf
1 1/2 cups white wine
1 cup fish stock
2-3 tablespoons butter, cold – cut in pieces
1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 pinch salt & pepper, to taste

Directions

Wash the Maine Lobster well.  With a very sharp, large knife, split the Maine Lobster in half.  Remove and save the claws and tail pieces.  Clean the innards from the body cavity and reserve.  Heat the olive oil in a large, deep skillet and add the Maine Lobster tails and claws.  Sear in the hot oil, tossing occasionally, until the shells have started turning red and the meat is golden, about 5 minutes.  Reduce the heat, remove the Maine Lobster pieces and set them on a platter to keep warm.

In the same skillet, sauté the onion until tender and lightly colored, about 7 minutes.  Add the shallots and garlic and theMaine lobster pieces, including the body cavities.  Pour the cognac over, and while holding your head back and away from the skillet, ignite the brandy with a match.  When the flames subside, stir in the tomatoes, parsley, tomato paste, tarragon, thyme, bay leaf, white wine and fish stock.  Bring the mixture just to a boil, cover, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.

Remove the Maine Lobster pieces, discarding the body cavities.  Remove the Maine Lobster meat from the shells if desired. Strain the sauce into a clean pot, pressing the solids well to extract as much flavor as possible.  Bring the cooking juices to a boil and boil to reduce by half or until they begin to thicken slightly.  Reduce the heat and whisk in the pieces of cold butter so they melt gently into the sauce.  Season to taste with lemon juice, salt and pepper.  Return the Maine Lobster to the sauce to gently warm through, about 1 minute.  Serve hot with rice pilaf alongside.