Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Oven Roasted Lobster and Vegetable Stir Fry

My husband loves lobster. I mean he really loves lobster. It kills him that he can't order it every time we dine out because the price tag usually resembles the U.S. debt. So, for Valentine's Day I decided to make lobster for dinner and make his day/week/year. First I will cover the stir fry recipe, with details to every step, then the lobster, since that was by far the easier item. Make no mistake, neither portion of this dinner was technique-heavy or difficult, but the stir fry does require that you are prepared and ready to cook for 10 minutes straight. It's going to be very picture laden, so be forewarned! Here goes:
I start with fresh veggies that I know everyone will eat, plus a few they won't recognize once cooked in. For tonight these included broccoli, carrots, red bell peppers, baby bok choy, and red onion.
 So at this point all these raw veggies needed to be chopped into bite sized pieces. This is important, especially if you have kids. You won't want to stop eating so you can chop up broccoli or carrots for the little ones! Plus, they just plain cook quicker that way. Here's a tool that's nearly indispensable in my kitchen
It's called a mandoline, or mandoline slicer. It has a thin, VERY SHARP blade and another piece that holds the intended veggie victim. Please don't try to slice on a mandoline without the guard. That blade looks innocuous, but it's really sharp. With it, I turned 2 red onions and 3 pounds of carrots into this:
in less than 5 minutes. Now here's a confession...I didn't use the guard for the carrots. It's just too difficult to get even slices without the carrot rolling all over, but PLEASE don't do what I did. I am used to this particular slicer. Here's what I suggest, cut your carrot in half lengthwise, then use the slicer. Ok, end of my mommy voice and back to dinner. All told, it took me about 10 minutes to end up with this:

Before you even THINK about turning on a burner, make sure you are at this point. Don't say, "oh, I can chop as I go along..." You can't. This goes really fast once the heat gets involved.

Here are the ingredients for the stir fry sauce
From left to right it's: Soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, black pepper, (ignore the salt), minced garlic, ground ginger, and dark sesame oil. All these things are available in the grocery store. If you have any problem, check the ethnic food aisle. Also there's chicken broth, but I keep that frozen in cubes, so no pic of that.

Mix together 1/2 cup chicken broth, 1/2 cup soy sauce, 1 tablespoon each of rice wine vinegar and dark sesame oil. Just set it out of spill range for now. Also, in a separate bowl, mix together 2 teaspoons of cornstarch and 2 tablespoons of cold water and set it aside as well.

Ok, now this stir fry takes 10 minutes to cook. That's all. It's fast, it's hot, and believe me, you don't want your kids underfoot while you're doing this part. Grab a really large saute pan or skillet. I mean LARGE. I use one that's similar to a wok, but with a flat bottom. Put it on the burner, add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil and turn that burner up to high. Go ahead, don't be scared. Get that thing screaming hot! If you're cooking on electric your burner should be bright red. Be patient here and let that pan get good and hot. It's key to a crisp stir fry. One it's really hot, grab a heat-resistant spoon or spatula. In my pics you'll see I use a rubber spatula but it's heat resistant up to 500 degrees. Now let's cook:
Add the sliced onions and cook them until brown but still crisp. This should only take about 1-2 minutes.

Add 1/4 teaspoon of ground ginger and 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic and let this cook 1 minute.
If you're using the same veggies I have pictured here, add them in the same order. You're going to add the longest cooking veggies first. So in go the carrots. Keep tossing everything around the pan or it will burn. Move everything around. Cook for about 2 minutes or until they look like this:
Next add the broccoli. Again cook for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly. The broccoli will turn bright green and look like this:
Now add the red bell peppers. Same thing, 2 minutes until bright red and still crisp.
Now add the bok choy and cook for 1 minute until it's bright green and wilted. Make sure everything is mixed through well. Now add the sauce (the mix of stock, soy sauce, vinegar and sesame oil) and toss until all the veggies are well coated. Let this cook for about a minute, then add the cornstarch water mixture (called a slurry) to the pan and cook. This will cause the sauce to thicken and make it nice and glossy. YUM! This is what the finished stir fry looks like
It smells fabulous! It tastes even better. Give it a taste test and make sure it tastes how you like it. If the sauce is too thick, add a little chicken stock. If it's too thin, just let it cook a bit longer. Tah-dah!

Now to the lobster, this couldn't be easier. I buy the tails from the seafood department. First preheat the oven to 425. Then cut the shell down the back with a pair of sharp scissors like this:

 Don't cut through the meat, just the shell. then slide your fingers inside the shell and make it crack open so the meat is visible. it should look like this:
Next drizzle the lobsters with sesame oil and sprinkle with cracked black pepper. Once the oven is preheated, slide them into the oven and cook for 13 minutes. The shell will turn red and the meat will be bright white. Like this:
Here is the finished plate, just waiting for us to devour it. I sometimes like to add a squirt of lemon juice too, but I felt it didn't need it in this case. Enjoy!!

2 comments:

  1. Great first post! Looks delicious and I love all the pics.

    ReplyDelete