Lobster with white beans, tarragon and tomatoes

Lobster with white beans, tarragon and tomatoes

By
From
My Favourite Ingredients
Serves
4
Photographer
Jason Lowe

I find the sweet, rich flesh of lobsters a real treat to eat.We cook this dish primarily during the early months of summer, when small native lobsters are particularly good. Perfectly ripe cooked tomatoes and tarragon, with its faintly aniseed flavour, make it really special.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
4 small live lobsters, about 500g each
300g podded fresh white cannellini beans, or good-quality dried ones
40ml extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
bunch tarragon, leaves only
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
20 perfectly ripe little tomatoes, such as San Marzano, datterini or cherry tomatoes
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
100ml pernod
knob butter

Method

  1. Put the lobsters into the freezer for an hour or two, to render them soporific. Then, to par-cook them, place the lobsters in a pan and pour in enough cold water to cover them by about 15cm. Turn the heat up as high as it will go and cook until the water is on the point of boiling. Turn off the heat and let the lobsters sit in the hot water for 1 minute. Using tongs, remove them and allow to cool.
  2. Have a bowl to hand so you can tip in and save the delicious juices as you prepare the lobsters. Lay one on its back and slice down the middle from top to tail with a sharp knife. Remove the meat from the body and set aside on a plate. Twist off the small legs, cutting off and discarding the bits of feathery gill sticking to the knuckle ends. Lay the legs alongside the body. Twist off the claws, then using a pair of scissors, cut down the length of the arms and pull out the meat. Crack the claws with a mallet and gently remove the shell – to remove the flesh in one piece. Set aside with the rest of the meat. Repeat with the other lobsters. Now you can start cooking…
  3. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Tip the beans into a baking dish, pour in the olive oil and add water to cover generously. Stir in the garlic, half the tarragon and the wine vinegar. Now add the tomatoes, piercing each one with a sharp knife as you do so, to let their sweet juice ooze out during cooking. Season with salt, cover and place in the oven. Cook until the beans are creamy and tender; about 35–40 minutes for fresh beans, around 11/4 hours for dried ones. Check the liquid from time to time, adding a little more water if needed. Once tender, set aside while you warm the lobster.
  4. Pour the Pernod into a saucepan large enough to hold the lobster meat and warm over a low heat. Add the lobster and reserved juices and warm through briefly, turning occasionally to ensure it is evenly heated. Remove with a slotted spoon and divide among warm bowls.
  5. Turn up the heat under the pan to high and add the butter, whisking vigorously to combine. Add to the warm beans, stir in the remaining tarragon and taste for seasoning. Ladle over the lobster and serve immediately. Grilled sourdough bread – rubbed with a whisper of garlic and brushed with the best quality olive oil – is perfect for mopping up the juices.
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