Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Lobster Stock

Jonathan stirs the party punch. Posted by Hello

I learned something new today - how to make lobster stock. It's not very complicated, and Jonathan's stock turned out quite clear and smelled good...completely unlike some other batches of stock I've seen the downstairs restaurant turn out, which we refer to as "Wet Dog Stock."
1. Sturdy vegetables in the kettle first - your onions and carrots. Sweat 5-10 minutes.
2. Watery vegetables in second - your celery, leek and fennel (if you're using fennel.) Sweat a
little more.
3. Add some tomato paste and let it carmelize just a bit.
4. Deglaze with white wine and sherry.
5. Add your lobster bodies and shells, and give the whole mess a good stir.
6. Add water to cover and simmer 2-4 hours. (Jonathan also added some saffron, and although I've never actually made lobster stock, I've read plenty of recipes for it, and never have I seen saffron included unless they were making bouillabaise broth or something.)
7. Skim, skim, skim
8. Strain, cool, lable, store.

Stock is super easy to make at our place since, as you can see in the picture, we have a whole row of steam kettles in the back kitchen to use. You make your stock in one of those, then simply strain it out through the spigot in the bottom of the kettle, and leave all the mess in there for the dishwashers to clean out. This helps to contribute to my inability to cook at home. At work I can dirty up all the dishes in the world and it is other people's jobs to wash them for me. At home I have to wash them myself, which sucks.
Right now I have to jump in the shower and head off to work early. I volunteered to go in early and break down all these huge prawns since chef is on vacation and the work load is a little heavier for everyone this week. The prawns are awesome, but cleaning them is sort of a bitch. They're so big it's almost like breaking down a lobster.

Before I give the steps, there is one important trick to being a fast and efficient cook: If you're faced with a whole bunch of product that has to be processed the same way, break everything down at the same time. For example, if you had to peel and zest and juice ten grapefruit, don't take the sticker off of one, then zest it, then cut it in half, then juice it, then start on the next one. That is completely inefficient. Take the stickers off of all of them. Then zest all of them. Then cut them all in half. Then juice all of them. See what I'm saying? Being a professional cook is about being as efficient with your time and effort as you can possibly be, because you always have something else you could be doing. Anyway, back to the prawns:

1. Twist the tail off of the body. Pull away the long legs.
2. Pull the body out of the shell. Put the shell aside. Pull the liver and roe out of the body and set aside. Chop off the legs and face and put aside. Throw the rest off the body away - it will now be like a one ounce chunk of mess.
3. Crack the shell away from the tail and pull that out gently. Put the shell in the pile with the legs and faces.
4. Gently crack the legs at the joints and pull out the meat.
5. Vacuum pack and freeze the liver and roe and the leg meat - seperately, of course.
6. Put the tail shells, legs and faces in a bag and freeze. This will be used for prawn stock when there is enough saved up.
7. Hold the tails for service and save the big shells in case chef wants to use them for a garnish (which I totally disagree with but until it's my restaurant I'm not saying anything about it.) If chef does want to use them for a garnish I boil them for a minute in water with a bit of lemon juice.

And that's how you do it.

End results - shells, prawns, livers and claw meat. Posted by Hello