Pair with Frediani Valdiguié
"In my early days as Ridge’s winemaker and board member, I suggested to the founders that we should start a tradition of taking ourselves to the admired Chez Panisse restaurant in Berkeley for an annual directors’ dinner. Chez Panisse founder Alice Waters later published some of these Ridge dinners in a book of her favorite menus. In celebration of Ridge’s 60th Anniversary, we are revisiting dishes from these storied Chez Panisse dinners for this year’s Holiday Pairing Feast." -Paul Draper, Chairman of the Board
Cut out the cone-shaped heart of a firm green savoy cabbage. Remove the outer leaves and blanch the whole cabbage in boiling salted water for 2 to 3 minutes. Drain. When the cabbage is cool enough to handle, separate the leaves and blanch them for 1 to 2 minutes. Drain them and dry them well. Cut out the large ribs of 12 leaves and trim them into rectangles about 5 inches by 3 inches. Set aside.
Prepare a court-bouillon of 8 to 10 quarts water, ½ cup coarse sea salt, 2 bay leaves, 4 thyme sprigs, 1 sliced lemon, and 10 to 12 black peppercorns. Bring the court-bouillon to a rapid boil and cook the lobsters in it for about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the lobsters. Strain and reserve the court-bouillon. When the lobsters are cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the tails and claws and reserve it. Remove the gravelly stomach sac and discard it; reserve the shells and the coral, if any.
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat and sauté the shells of the lobster for 3 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and add ¼ pound of butter (and the reserved coral). Cook over very low heat until the butter melts. Trim and dice finely 2 carrots, 2 onions, 1 leek, 1 celery rib, and 3 shallots. Add the vegetables to the pan and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. Increase the heat and flame with 2 tablespoons Armagnac or Cognac. Add 1 cup white wine, 3 chopped tomatoes, and water to barely cover. Simmer for 30 minutes. Break the shells in a blender and force the shells and sauce through a very fine sieve. Let the sauce rest for 5 minutes to allow the butter to rise to the surface. Skim the butter and reserve it.
Allow one half of a claw and one quarter of a tail for each package. Lay the 12 cabbage leaves flat on a worktable. Place the lobster meat, red side down, in the lower center of the leaves. Drizzle some lobster butter over each package and put a sprig of chervil on top of each. Fold the bottom of each leaf over the lobster, then fold in the sides and roll forward over the top of the leaf to make a tightly closed package. Steam the packages for 8 to 10 minutes over the simmering court-bouillon.
Reduce the lobster bisque by half over high heat and whisk in ½ pound butter, cut into bits and softened. Rove the sauce from the heat. Place the lobster packages on warm plates and spoon the sauce over them. Garnish with the diced peppers and chervil.
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