“Make sure the lobster is still moving when you cook it, otherwise your dish will taste like mush,” Mendes explained as he cut and cracked the lobsters. While Mendes was emphasizing the importance of using a fresh, live lobster when cooking, we know that cutting a live lobster seems scary. So at home, you can sever the lobster’s spinal cord just before cutting it open (this will kill the lobster quickly but will not ruin the quality of the meat). - Yasmin Fahr
From Chef George Mendes of Aldea
4 lobsters, 1 ¼ pound each
2 ounces olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
3 onions, peeled, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic
2 bay leaves, fresh, torn slightly at edges (to release flavor)
Freshly-ground black pepper
1 tablespoon sweet, smoked Spanish paprika (pimentón)
½ cup white wine 6 ripe red tomatoes, peeled and diced
1 cup port
¼ cup Italian flat-leaf parsley, chopped, for garnish
Cut lobster bodies in half lengthwise. Remove the claws from the bodies and separate the main claw from the ‘elbow’. Remove the stomach sac from lobster head.
Heat a medium-sized rondeau, or a wide, heavy-bottomed pan with straight sides, over medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the lobster bodies cut side down along with butter and cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Turn over and cook another minute. Remove from pan and set aside.
Add the lobster tails, also cut side down and let cook until flesh is golden brown. Remove from pan and set aside.
Add the onion, garlic, and bay leaf and season with salt and pepper. ‘Sweat’ for 10 minutes with a lid on, watching the heat to avoid scorching, and stirring occasionally.
Remove the lid, add the paprika and mix well. Then deglaze with white wine. Add the lobster claws and knuckles as well as the heads. Place lid back on and let cook over medium heat for 20 minutes, seasoning or adding more oil as needed.
Remove the lid, and then remove the claws and knuckles, setting them aside in a warm place.
Add the lobster tails and chopped tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes.
Remove the tails and then add the port. Using a heavy wooden spoon or potato masher, mash the heads to release all the juices. Then remove the heads and reduce port down to a glaze, again seasoning as needed.
Meanwhile, break the claws and remove all the meat as well as the knuckles. Arrange on a plate along with the tails in their shell.
Add the chopped parsley to the tomato/onion mixture, and then place it on top of the lobster, spooning a little of the glaze on top. Serve with loose white rice or potatoes.