Recipe of the month: Lobster Armoricaine [fr]
This month, our Chef Sébastien Baud presents a Breton dish: Lobster Armoricaine!
This month, we left Normandy and are finding our way through Brittany. Our first recipe is Lobster Armoricaine.
If you are looking for a hot lobster dish, this is the recipe for you. For a special occasion, I recommend making time to prepare the luscious white wine and Cognac-based sauce: it pairs so beautifully with the lobster meat. Add a few vegetables on the side, and you will be all set!
Cooking in Brittany draws from the region’s terroir… Milk generously transforms into salted butter; seafood, fish, shellfish, and buckwheat are all on the menu.
Once on the table, Kouign-Amann crepes have a tendency to disappear mysteriously fast. In the region’s restaurants, chefs have brilliant personal takes on local classics. They showcase the region’s traditional food offering with spices, flavors from distant parts of the world, thereby paying tribute to Brittany’s long-standing appetite for adventure. Michelin –starred chefs set this new trend, and they were so creative that they successfully turned Brittany into a full-fledged culinary destination.
A true highlight of the tables from Brittany, wheat crepes are savored as a sweet treat and the buckwheat galettes as a savory dish. Making them is no small feat, and in the town of Gourin, crêperies actually compete in a championship to determine who makes the best crepe.
Are you feeling a little thirsty? Highly drinkable and sparkly, cider has attained such high quality that it was granted an AOC appellation in Cornouaille. The cider from Fouesnant is also highly reputed.
Langoustine, spider crab, edible crab, clam, shrimp, periwinkle are all traditional features on Britany’s seafood platters, and they will make your mouth water. With or without those, local oysters are the region’s culinary crown jewel. Depending on how iodized you like them, or if you enjoy them with a slight hazelnut flavor, you can take your pick among plates du Belon oysters, Prat-Ar-Coum oysters from the Bay of Brest, Cancale oysters, or Pleines de Mer oysters from Quiberon. Order a dozen with buttered toast and a glass of Muscadet…
Kouign-Amann is very well-named. The name translates as “butter cake”, and is made with vast amounts of butter. A little flour and sugar are added. When slightly reheated, it is crispy and melts in your mouth all at the same time. Kouign-Amann is a true treat, especially in Locronan or Douarnenez. Butter is also a key ingredient in the galettes from Traou-Mad or Pont-Aven.
Far is another traditional recipe in Brittany, which is close from clafoutis, and has many variations. In Breton language, it is called farz forn [fars’furn] in the Léonard region, and translates as oven-baked far. Far’s most famous version includes dried prunes, even though they were never a traditional ingredient. The recipe is simple, and contains eggs, sugar, flour and milk. In Latin, far means “wheat gruel”. Initially, far was a wheat gruel to which people later added dried fruit such as prunes or raisins. It was an inexpensive dessert, which has become one of Brittany’s signature dishes today.
RECIPE FOR 4 SERVINGS
1 tsp peanut oil
3 or 4 small lobsters from Brittany
25cl dry white wine, such as Muscadet
1 garlic clove
A dash of Cayenne pepper
3 sprigs of flat-leaf parsley
Peel and dice the onions and shallots. Before cooking, cut the lobsters lengthwise.
Detach and crack the claws.
Slice the heads lengthwise, remove and discard the gravel pockets.
Set the coral pockets and creamy parts aside.
Peel the tomatoes, remove their seeds, and crush them.
Peel and crush the garlic.
Dice the butter.
In a pan, cook the onions and shallots in the peanut oil and half the butter.
Add the lobsters to the pan, including the claws and heads. Increase the cooking temperature to medium heat, and cook until the lobsters turn a nice red color.
Cover with Cognac and flame the preparation.
As soon as the flames are gone, reduce the cooking temperature to low heat, and add the white wine.
Add salt and pepper.
Add the tomatoes, garlic and dash of Cayenne pepper.
Cover the pan, and cook for a further 10 minutes over low heat, mixing the preparation twice.
After 10 minutes, remove the lobster from the pan with a slotted spoon, and set them aside in a warm serving dish.
Add the rest of the butter gradually, along with the creamy parts of the lobster.
Whisk the preparation until it reaches a smooth consistency.
Pour the sauce over the lobsters, and garnish with finely chopped parsley.
Let me conclude with a quote from Mr Charles Monselet (1825-1888), one of France’s first food critics. Wishing you Bon Appétit!
“The art of gastronomy is beautiful and warm. It transcends the barrier of language, makes friends among civilized people, and warms up the heart."