We like to indulge in food, drink, and good company. This post is a glimpse into what fuels our friendships, our work, our lives. Here are chef Jessica O’Brien and interior and prop stylist Emily Rickard, helping in the kitchen, giving our gathering ambience, and making sure everyone’s glass and forks are full.
TAGLIATELLE WITH VANILLA BEAN LOBSTER AND MAITAKE MUSHROOMS
For the Lobster
2 (2 ½ to 3 pound) live lobsters
Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil.
Set one lobster on a cutting board. Hold the tail down, and, with a chef’s knife, cut down the line on the head, lengthwise and firmly (you should feel the tip of the knife touching the cutting board) until you hit the horizontal line where the tail begins. The lobster will die instantly, and I much prefer this method to dumping it into a pot of boiling water. It will continue to move a bit, but trust me, it is no longer. Repeat with second lobster. Remove elastic bands from claws.
Cook the lobsters about 6 minutes. They will turn bright red. Remove them from the pot with tongs and run under cold water briefly. Tear the claws off, then, tear the tail off. Discard the head, unless you’re planning on making stock.
Use shears to cut vertically down the tail on both sides – this will make it easy to remove the shell and the meat in a single, clean piece.
Cover the claws with a dish towel and tap them with a mallet to crack them. Pry off some of the shell, and pull out the meat.
Chop the lobster into bite-sized pieces.
For the Pasta
Note: Vanilla bean accentuates lobster’s sweetness, while the maitake mushrooms beefiness rounds out and anchors the dish.
1 recipe fresh pasts (see our previous post)
6 to 8 tablespoons salted butter
2 shallots, finely chopped
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
Chopped lobster from recipe above
8 ounces maitake (hen of the woods) mushrooms, chopped
3 vanilla beans, seeds scraped out, pods reserved for other use
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 small bunch chives, chopped (about ¼ cup)
Melt butter in large skillet over medium-high heat. Swirl it in the pan until it begins to turn golden and aroma is nutty. Add the shallots and cook, stirring, until softened, about 2 minutes. Add vinegar and allow to evaporate, about 1 minute.
Add the lobster, mushrooms, and vanilla bean and season with salt and pepper. Sauté until they are golden. Add more butter if desired.
Toss mixture with pasta and chives. Serve immediately. Mangia!