This is one of those things that I can’t believe I actually created myself.
It started last night. I ran into the Aldi across the street from work to pick up a few small things and on my way to checkout, I saw these lobster tails.
I know what you’re thinking, I was too… seafood? from Aldi? Are you sure you want to do that. Well I checked the ingredients list on the package. Maine Lobster Tail. That was it. And the price was right – $11 for both. What the heck. I threw ‘em in the cart.
When I got home, this package of dried mushrooms I ordered from Michael Ruhlman’s Open Sky store was sitting on the counter. Adam asked me what on earth I was going to do with them, so I accepted the challenge.
Before I went to bed, I opened the package of oyster mushrooms, poured some white wine(Sauvignon Blanc) over them, weighed ‘em down with pie weights to keep them submerged, and threw ‘em in the fridge to rehydrate overnight.
Tonight when I got home from work I pulled out some homemade chicken stock from the freezer and warmed it in a pan and drained the oyster mushrooms (reserving the soaking wine) and dried them on a paper towel.
I cut up an onion and removed the lobster meat from their shells. I threw half the onions in one saucepan with some butter and the lobster shells. This pan will be the sauce eventually.
I put the other half of the onions in a second pan with olive oil and butter. I chopped up the drained oyster mushrooms and added them to the sauce pan after the onions softened.
I measured out a half cup of pearl barley and added it to the onions. In the sauce pan, I sprinkled everything with a bit of flour.
I ladled in a half cup of the warmed chicken stock and added it to the pearl barley. I added the reserved wine soaking liquid from the mushrooms to the sauce pan. As the stock cooked down out of the barley pan, I added in another half cup. I repeated this process about 6-8 times until all of the stock was incorporated into the pearl barley ‘risotto’.
Meanwhile, I vacuum sealed the lobster tails with a half stick of butter, sliced up some spinach, and pre-heated the sous vide supreme to 59.5 degrees Celsius (about 140 F) Not pictured is Adam who snapped the ends off the asparagus, peeled them, tossed them with olive oil, salt, and pepper and threw them in a 400 degree oven for 25 minutes.
After the sauce reduced by about half, I pulled out the lobster shells, stirred in a squirt of tomato paste and some half and half. As you can see, the barley is plumping up nicely.
When I thought everything else was 15 minutes to being done, the lobster tails went for a bath in the Sous Vide Supreme. I took most of the mushrooms out of the sauce pan and transferred the rest of the sauce and mushrooms to a smaller pan, using my immersion blender to blend it to a sort of smooth, sort of chunky consistency.
The mushrooms I pulled out of the sauce got added to the risotto as did the spinach, just minutes before I was ready to plate.
I cut some slices of a sage compound butter that I had frozen this fall and stirred it, cube by cube, into the sauce. The butter poached lobster came out of the sous vide. We reserved the butter for another use (I’m thinking seafood bisque)
Then I plated (Two different ways, I was trying to be creative).
I didn’t plan this meal ahead of time, in fact, I wanted to make mashed potatoes with it but I didn’t have any potatoes in my cupboard. The barley was a last minute replacement. Everything came from the pantry or an earlier in the week grocery store trip. And it was so good! So much flavor. I didn’t provide a ‘recipe’ because I have no clue how much of anything I used… I know that 2/3 of the wine bottle was gone before we sat down to eat and I didn’t drink any while we were cooking… so there’s a lot of wine in this dish. I guess I won’t turn my nose up at Aldi seafood next time so long as it inspires creativity.