A few months ago we had a wonderful dinner at Combal.Zero** near Turin (Italy). My favorite dish of the evening was lobster carpaccio with gorgonzola sauce. It was such a surprising combination that I wanted to try to make something similar myself. The result was pretty good, although it was not as good at Combal. I know that Davide Scabin does a lot of experimenting to get a dish just right, so it was to be expected that my first try would not be as good. Unlike Davide, I served the claws with the dish and they were cooked. I noticed that the gorgonzola sauce also tasted great with the cooked lobster claws, so this sauce is even a good idea if you prefer cooked lobster.
Since the lobster is alive until just before you eat it, there should not be any issue with eating the lobster meat raw. You can keep a live lobster in your refrigerator up to a day if you cover it with a damp cloth.
For 2 servings
1 medium live lobster (about 600-700 grams or 1 1/2 pound)
For the gorgonzola sauce (enough for 4-6 servings)
250 ml (1 cup) milk
15 grams (1 Tbsp) flour
15 grams (1 Tbsp) butter
100 grams (4 oz) gorgonzola piccante
pinch of white pepper
2 Tbsp dry white wine
Start the sauce by making a bechamel sauce. Melt the butter in a saucepan.
Off the heat, add the flour.
Stir to make a roux.
Cook over low heat for a few minutes, stirring now and then.
Meanwhile, heat the milk (in the microwave) until hot but not boiling.
Add the hot milk all at once to the roux and whisk quickly to avoid lumps. Let the bechamel cook gently for a few minutes and keep stirring to prevent the bottom from burning.
Add the gorgonzola, crumbled or cut into pieces, and stir to let it melt.
Add the white wine and stir some more.
Let the sauce cool to room temperature, with plastic wrap pressed onto the surface to prevent a skin from forming.
Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Add the lobster head first (if you like you can kill the lobster first by thrusting a knife through its brain, but it will also be killed almost instantly by the boiling water) and boil it for 30 seconds only. This is only to kill the lobster and make it easier to get the lobster tail out of the shell; we are trying to keep it as raw as possible.
Remove the lobster from the boiling water with tongs and plunge it into ice water to let it cool rapidly.
This is just a gratuitous lobster shot for my Irish friend.
Twist off the tail and the claws. If you like you can also twist off the small legs since they do contain very sweet meat that you can extract by using a rolling pin. Discard the head, or use it to make lobster bisque.
Cut open the belly of the tail with scissors.
Now you should be able to peel off the shell with your hands.
The result will be a raw lobster tail. Put it in the freezer, covered in plastic wrap, for 10 minutes or so to make it easier to slice it thinly, but make sure it won’t freeze!
I thought it would be nice to try and cook the claws sous-vide in the shell. The claws have some very sharp bits however, that would puncture the vacuum pouch.
So cut those off first with a big chef knife (feel with your fingers where the sharp bits are).
Now you can safely vacuum seal the claws in a pouch. Cook sous-vide for 1 hour at 60C/140F.
You could also throw the claws back into the boiling water for 6 minutes or so to cook them.
Slice the lobster tail into slices as thin as you can get them with a sharp knife. The thinner, the more tender the lobster will be.
Arrange the lobster carpaccio on two plates.
Serve with some of the gorgonzola sauce and a claw.
At Combal.Zero this was served with a wonderful unoaked viognier from Piemonte. Since I didn’t have any viognier on hand, we tried it with a nice chardonnay and that was also great. I would recommend a riper style chardonnay from the south of France, Italy or Chile (rather than a white burgundy, which would be too dry) to accompany the blue cheese.
17 thoughts on “Lobster Carpaccio with Gorgonzola Sauce”
Interesting! I just can’t get a taste for gorgonzola so I might do a bechamel with maybe just a dash of sherry and some truffle, maybe…
The lobster Carpaccio fascinates me though. I don’t recall ever seeing lobster as a sashimi selection in a restaurant when I come to think of it… The claw meat must have been almost untouched by the heat. How was the quality? I love tail meat, and I like the thick part of the claw, but the little thin but in the small pincer is usually tasteless and rubbery when cooked…
Also, was the meat hard to remove from the claw and adjoining pieces when raw?
I did not eat the claw meat raw, since it is impossible to get out of the claw when it’s raw. I only had the tail meat raw and the quality was outstanding, although it would have been more tender if I had succeeded in slicing it even thinner.
I agree with the thick part of the claw and the tail (as well as the tiny legs!) being the best parts. When cooked sous-vide the thinner part of the claw is a bit slimy in texture and doesn’t have much taste other than salty.
I have never seen lobster sashimi either, perhaps because it’s too expensive and too much hassle? You can only keep it for a few hours after the lobster has been killed after all.
P.S. I’ve just googled a bit and lobster sashimi is served at restaurants; it actually seems to be the custom to serve the raw tail with the front of the lobster still alive and moving while you are eating the tail. See for example http://shizuokagourmet.com/2009/08/19/lobster-basic-sashimi-preparation/
Hmmm …. I’m all for fresh, and I think lobsters don’t have a very highly developed central nervous system, but I think I might pass on that…
I’ve heard of putting them in the freezer before cutting them up…. that sounds pretty humane to me.
That’s what I do as well, see this post: https://stefangourmet.com/2012/04/15/lobster-sous-vide-temperature-experiment/
It might also make sense to kill a lobster in a “lobsterian” way rather than a “humane” way, but that would probably mean pinching it to death 😉
Interesting post in that link…
I only just realized that you are in the Netherlands… I am surprised to see how much your Oosterschelde Lobsters are so close in appearance to the Bay of Fundy Lobsters harvested near where I grew up (although the colour is different). Bay of Fundy Lobsters are very highly regarded (the same as Maine lobsters actually)… I am guessing your variety is close given the appearance. I have had many kinds… including many spiny types, but none come close to those I grew up eating (and that’s not purely a function of familiarity)… have you had Lobsters from Maine or New Brunswick?
I think I’ve had Maine lobsters in the US, but I’m not completely sure (as it was definitely not in Maine, where I’ve never been).
Outside of the season for Oosterschelde lobster, most of the lobster we get here is imported from Canada.
The color is indeed different, that is how to tell apart European lobsters from North American. The interesting thing is that the Oosterschelde lobsters are genetically different from all other lobsters and supposedly have a better taste, but I have not done a blind test yet to confirm.
Another great post Stefan. And, as English is clearly not your first language, and you write so well in it, I hate to trifle you over a minor grammatical error. In fact, if it weren’t so amusing picturing you trying to fish a lobster out of a hot pan with a pair of “thongs” (skimpy underwear) rather than “tongs”. 🙂
Thanks for pointing that out, I’ll fix it right away 🙂
Great post. I would think gorgonzola would be too strong a flavor for lobster, but now want to test that assumption…the dish looks very good…
Pure gorgonzola piccante would indeed be too strong, but diluted in the creamy besciamella it is just right.
I would have never thought of pairing gorgonzola with lobster. Thanks for sharing
Thank Davide Scabin, I got the idea from him. I was very surprised that it worked so well.
This looks beautifully decadent!
Very intriguing, Stefan. I’ve never considered gorgonzola with lobster as I thought gorgonzola would overpower the delicate flavor of the lobster itself. I’m also surprised you tried this knowing you don’t like to add cheese to fish dishes. I definitely need to try this. Thanks for sharing. 🙂