saffron butter-poached lobster over summer succotash

This recipe is another that features the wonderful saffron product from Rumi Spice. The saffron is added to a classic butter sauce known as beurre monté. As it infuses into the warm butter, the saffron adds a delicious and delicate flavor and intense yellow color. Beurre monté is a classic "workhorse" sauce that can be made easily by whisking chunks of butter into a few drops of water over medium heat; as the butter melts, it emulsifies and transforms into a rich sauce that can be used to poach lobster or fish, or to flavor meat that is resting after cooking. This lobster was prepared from live lobsters that we killed and par-boiled; to maintain the luxurious texture of the lobster, we par-boiled just the claws and tails and then removed the lobster meat from the shells to finish in the butter poaching liquid. The result: the most flavorful and tender lobster without a trace of chewiness from overcooking!

Poached lobster:

  • Live lobsters (2 whole, approximately 1 and 1/4 pounds each; purchase same day)

  • Butter (8 tablespoons, cut into chunks)

  • Saffron threads (1/4 teaspoon)

  • Finishing salt (for garnish and flavor)

  • Chives (1 teaspoon, chopped, for garnish)

Summer succotash:

  • Olive oil (4 tablespoons)

  • Shallot (1 medium-sized, finely chopped)

  • Fresh yellow corn kernels (1 cup)

  • Edamame (1/2 cup, fresh or defrosted if frozen)

  • Cherry tomatoes (1 cup, sliced in half)

  • Zucchini (1 large yellow, cut into 1/2-inch cubes)

  • Lemon juice (1 teaspoon)

  • Ground chipotle pepper (1/2 teaspoon)

  • Sea salt (1/2 teaspoon)

  1. To prepare the live lobsters, set a large stockpot of water to boil on the stove over medium heat.

  2. Unpack the fresh live lobsters into a large bowl full of ice.

  3. One lobster at a time, use a large chef's knife to stab the live lobster through the head over a cutting board; this will kill the lobster immediately. Quickly remove the two claws and twist off the tail from each dead lobster and place back in the bowl of ice. Note that the nervous system of a lobster is such that the parts of the lobster may still be moving even after killing the lobster - do not be alarmed! Reserve the lobster bodies to make a soup or stock (you can freeze them in a large bag if you choose to do this at a later time).

  4. Once the water is boiling on the stove, add the four separated lobster claws and cook for 2 minutes.

  5. At the 2-minute mark, add the two tails to the boiling water to cook for another 2 minutes. Total cooking time for the claws will be 4 minutes. The lobster claws cook more quickly than the tails, which is why they need more time in the water.

  6. Using tongs, remove all the par-boiled lobster parts to a medium-sized bowl of ice cubes and cold water to shock the lobster and stop the cooking process. 

  7. On a cutting board, use your chef's knife or lobster/crab crackers to remove the tender meat from the shell pieces once they have cooled. Note that the lobster is not fully cooked and may appear a bit raw so be careful with handling it. Set the lobster meat aside in a small bowl in the refrigerator until ready to poach.

  8. To prepare the beurre monté, add a few tablespoons of water to a medium-sized saucepan. Heat to a simmer over medium heat. Add the cubes of butter one at a time, whisking continuously between additions. The sauce should begin to emulsify and thicken as you add more butter. 

  9. Add the saffron threads to the butter sauce  and continue to stir for approximately 2 minutes; it will begin to deepen in color and become more fragrant.

  10. Add the lobster meat to the sauce. Simmer the lobster in the butter poaching liquid for approximately 4 to 5 minutes, or until tender but not overcooked. Remove immediately to a cutting board to cool.

  11. To prepare the succotash, heat the olive oil in a large shallow skillet of medium heat. Add the chopped shallot and cook until translucent.

  12. Add the fresh corn, edamame, tomatoes and zucchini. Using a wooden spoon, stir frequently until the vegetables are cooked through but not soggy.

  13. Add the lemon juice, ground chipotle for a hint of smokiness, and sea salt and evenly combine; taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.

  14. Transfer the succotash to a large serving bowl and with the poached lobster meat. Garnish with finishing salt and chopped chives and serve immediately.