This was a popular dish at Peter Doyle's Palm Beach restaurant, Reflections, in the '80s, using the local-area Palm Beach lobster. "It was delicious then and it's still delicious today" says Doyle, now chef at Est in Sydney. "Cuisine is continually evolving, but some combinations of flavours are almost timeless. This combination of ingredients is a reflection of the time - artichokes and chervil were still scarce and light butter sauces were the fashion."
- 3 small live rock lobsters (600gm each), killed humanely (see note)
- Chervil sprigs, to serve
- 6 globe artichokes
- 500 ml dry white wine
- 300 ml extra-virgin olive oil
- 100 ml lemon juice (from about 5 lemons), or white wine vinegar
- ½ carrot, sliced
- ½ onion, sliced
- ½ garlic bulb, halved horizontally
- 1 bouquet garni (see note)
- 300 gm peas (about 900gm unpodded if fresh)
- Pinch of ascorbic acid (see note)
- 100 ml white wine
- 50 ml white wine vinegar
- 2 golden shallots, peeled, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp peeled and grated ginger
- 50 ml pouring cream
- 600 gm cold unsalted butter
- Lemon juice, to taste
- 1For artichokes barigoule, snap the outer leaves from the artichokes and cut off the top a few centimetres, then place the artichokes on a chopping board. Trim the outer leaves towards the heart, then continue to remove the inner leaves to reveal the pale tender heart. Remove choke with a teaspoon (discard) and place artichoke hearts in acidulated water to prevent oxidation. Place remaining ingredients in a saucepan large enough to hold artichoke hearts, add 1 litre water and bring to the boil. Add artichokes, reduce heat to low-medium and simmer until artichokes are tender when pierced (20-25 minutes). Transfer artichokes to a container, pour enough stock from the saucepan over artichokes to just cover (discard remaining), cool, then quarter artichokes and set aside until required.
- 2Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Rinse lobsters under cold running water, then add to pan, cover with a lid, remove pan from heat and stand until shells turn red (5-7 minutes). Remove lobsters from water and carefully extract meat from tail. Cut lobster tail meat in half lengthways, place on a tray, cover and refrigerate until required.
- 33 For pea purée, cook peas in boiling salted water until tender (3-5 minutes for fresh; 1-2 minutes if frozen), drain, then refresh in iced water until very cold (5 minutes). Drain, then place in a blender with ascorbic acid, 75ml iced water and a pinch of salt, and process on high speed, for as short a time as possible to keep the purée cold, until smooth, adding more iced water if needed. Refrigerate until required.
- 4For nage butter sauce, simmer wine, vinegar, shallot and ginger in a saucepan over medium heat until reduced to 2 tbsp (1-2 minutes). Add cream and 50ml water and simmer over low heatto reduce slightly (2-3 minutes). Reduce heat to very low and whisk in the butter a tablespoonful at a time, whisking continuously until a thick sauce forms, then season with lemon juice, salt and pepper. Strain and keep warm until required.
- 5Place artichoke in a steamer and heat through (2-3 minutes). Remove lobster tails and artichokes from the fridge to bring to room temperature.
- 6Heat enough butter sauce in a wide saucepan over very low heat to half-cover lobster tails (keep remainder warm), add lobster and shake pan occasionally and move lobster around until heated through (4-6 minutes). Cut lobster tails into thick discs and transfer to warm plates, add artichoke hearts, a spoonful of pea purée and warm nage butter sauce. Scatter with chervil and serve.
RSPCA Australia's recommendations for killing crustaceans humanely are to first render the animals insensible by placing them in the freezer (under 4C - signs of insensibility are when the tail or outer mouth parts can be moved without resistance); crustaceans must then be killed quickly by cutting through the centreline of the head and thorax with a knife. For crabs, insert a knife into the heat. This splitting and spiking destroys the nerve centres of the animal. For bouquet garni, tie 2 tsp fennel seeds, 2 tsp coriander seeds, 1 fresh bay leaf, 2 thyme sprigs and 3 parsley stalks in a piece of muslin. Ascorbic acid is available from select health-food shops and helps to maintain the bright green colour of the purée.