Recipe of the week: Lobster vol au vents
“I LOVE a cheeky vol au vent, even if it is reminiscent of Seventies party food,” says chef Nathan Outlaw. “The little pastry cases are ideal vessels for savoury treats.”
Ingredients (makes 15)
1 live Cornish lobster, about 600g, placed in the freezer for 30 minutes before cooking
Cornish sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Pastry cases (Outlaw’s cookbook includes directions for homemade pastry cases)
For the mayonnaise
1 egg yolk
2 tsp Dijon mustard
Juice of ½ lemon
250ml light olive oil
2 tsp chopped fennel herb
For the garnish
1 lemon, peel and pith removed, segment into small pieces
1: Cook pastry cases as directed then transfer to a wire rack to cool.
2: To cook the lobster, bring a large pan of water to the boil and add plenty of salt (the water needs to be as salty as the sea to ensure the flavour of the lobster isn’t lost). Lower heat so water is at a steady simmer.
3: Take your lobster from the freezer and place on a board. Insert the tip of a strong, sharp knife firmly into the cross on the back of the lobster’s head. (The lobster will be killed instantly, although it may continue to move a little; this is normal.) Carefully pull the lobster tail away from the head and remove the claws. Add the claws to the simmering water and cook for three minutes, then add the tail to the pan and cook for another three minutes. Immediately remove all lobster from the pan and leave until cool enough to handle.
4: To make the mayonnaise, whisk egg yolk, mustard and lemon juice together for one minute. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until it is all incorporated. Season with salt and pepper.
5: To prepare the lobster cocktail, using a sharp knife, cut the lobster tail in half lengthways and remove the dark intestinal thread that runs the length of the tail. Discard the shell. Crack the claws and extract the meat. Chop the meat and put in a bowl. Add two tablespoons of the mayonnaise and stir gently to bind the lobster. Mix in the chopped fennel herb and season.
6: To finish and serve, fill the vol au vent cases with the lobster cocktail and finish with pieces of lemon and snippets of fennel herb.