This New Year’s Eve we chose to stay in. I know, I know, it might sound lame, but truthfully, some of the best ones I’ve had have been spent on the couch watching Marx Brothers or Twilight Zone marathons. By doing so, I don’t have to stress about what outfit I’ll wear, nor do have to worry about spending colossal amounts of money on one or two drinks at some bar while attempting not to spill it on myself due to the tremendous number of revelers ringing in the New Year at the same bar.
What to make, you ask? Why, something decadent, of course! Something we wouldn’t prepare on an average night of the week. Evidently, when I think of decadence, I think of lobster. Yes, some think it is overrated, but being a Nebraskan, lobster (or any other seafood, let’s be honest) did not really play a big role in my formative years. So, lobster it was! I’d never cooked a live lobster before, and evidently, it was going to happen on New Year’s Eve.
Even though Nebraska is a landlocked state, there happens to be a very nice seafood shop here in Omaha called Absolutely Fresh Seafood. They receive up to a dozen shipments of fish and shellfish daily, and supply fish to 450 restaurants around the city. So, we made our way to their retail store on 120th and Pacific to make our purchases. Understand that I was feeling rather anxious on the ride there; I’d never done anything like this in my life – killed something to eat it.
Luckily, I’d received Anthony Bourdain’s Les Halles cookbook for my birthday (joy!) so I had him in my cheering section reminding me that a lobster was nothing more than “a big f@#%ing bug” and all I had to do was put it in the broth and put the lid on it. “Okay,” I thought, “I can do this. I CAN do this.”
Armed with the confidence of Anthony Bourdain and a lovely recipe (Homard aux Aromates) from the venerable Julia Child, I set out to make New Year’s Eve dinner. Yes, some (most) of Julia’s recipes are inexplicably long and unnecessarily complicated, but this recipe was exactly what I was looking for, so I persevered!
I made sure to thank the lobsters for our future dinner, and into the pot they went! They steamed with a superb mixture of onions, carrots, celery, white wine, parsley, bay leaf, thyme, peppercorns, and tarragon. After their time in the sauna was up, I mixed in a lovely roux and a substantial amount of heavy cream, finishing the sauce with a combination of fresh herbs (parsley, tarragon, and chives).
On the side was roasted cauliflower and we ended our dinner with a chilled bottle of Veuve Clicquot. For a New Year’s Eve dinner, it was pretty divine. The clinking of glasses with Anthony and Julia would have been the icing on the cake. I owe my recently acquired confidence (regarding live lobsters) solely to Mr. Bourdain. And to Julia, I take my hat off to the outstanding flavors developed in the sauce.
Oh, and if you please, here is a short video of my experience with live lobsters.