I love, love, love lobster. Simply steamed and served with butter, or lightly dressed with mayo and loaded into a toasted hot dog bun that can barely contain it — as long as lobster is on the menu, I'm a happy camper.
For this recipe, I turned to the master, Thomas Keller, for inspiration — adapting recipes for creamy lobster broth and butter-poached lobster that are featured in his exquisite French Laundry Cookbook. The result is a rich, incredibly decadent treat, with a flavor to match the amount of work that goes into making it. I recommend serving it in a little cup or bowl as a starter to an elegant meal.
Bring a large pot of water to boil (about 2 1/2 quarts, or enough to cover the lobster). Add the lobster to the water head first, and remove from heat. Cook the lobster for 3 minutes, remove it carefully with tongs and set it aside to cool. Repeat for the second lobster and reserve the cooking liquid.
When the lobster is still warm, but cool enough to touch, break off the tails and claws. Add some of the hot cooking water to a large mixing bowl and place the claws in the water to cook for an additional 5 minutes.
Once cooked, remove the tail, claw, and knuckle meat, taking care to keep the tail and claw intact so that you'll have nice piece for presentation. Set aside in the refrigerator.
Discard the head shell and broken claw shells, clean the body carcass and reserve along with the tail shell. Heat the canola oil in a large, deep-sided skillet over medium-high heat and sear the shells for about 3-5 minutes (they should become bright red in color, just mind the splatter!). Next, add in the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, carrots, bay leaf, about 7 cups of the reserved lobster water, and the clam juice. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer and cook for approximately 45 minutes.
Strain into a clean saucepan to remove all of the solids. Over medium-high heat, bring the broth to a rolling boil, skimming off some of the oil. Cook for another 35-40 minutes to allow the broth to reduce and the flavors to concentrate. Reduce the heat to low and add in the cream, seasoning with pepper to taste. Keep the soup warm on low while you prepare the beurre monté and poach the lobster.
In a medium-small pot over medium heat, bring the tablespoon of water to a boil. (I know it sounds a bit ridiculous because the amount of water is so small, but it works, you're just looking for a couple bubbles to form.) Then add in one piece of butter and whisk until melted, repeat until all the butter has been used, gradually working up to whisking in a couple pieces of butter at a time.
Once the butter sauce is ready, add in the reserved pieces of lobster. Make sure they're completely coated in the butter and poach for about 6 minutes, turning if need be.
Once the lobster has finished poaching, it's time to assemble the soup. Ladle the soup into your small bowls (about a 1/2 to 3/4 of a cup for each), then distribute the pieces of lobster equally among them (you'll probably to either cut the tail in half).