LINGUINE WITH LOBSTER TARRAGON SAUCE (for four)
1 lobster shell
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 small shallots, coarsely chopped
1 small carrot, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 small leek, white part only, rinsed and coarsely chopped
½ teaspoon tomato paste
1 bay leaf
1 fresh thyme sprig
2 fresh tarragon sprigs
salt and freshly ground white pepper
2 teaspoons cognac
¾ cup dry white wine or vermouth
2 cups heavy cream
6 ounces cooked lobster meat, coarsely chopped
1 pound dried linguine
1 tablespoon minced fresh tarragon
- To make the lobster tarragon sauce, put the lobster shell in a heavy-duty plastic bag and smash with a meat mallet or a rolling pin.
- In a large frying pan over medium high heat, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter. Add the lobster shell pieces and saute, stirring frequently, until golden brown and aromatic, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the shallots, carrot, leek, tomato paste, bay leaf and thyme and tarragon sprigs and reduce heat to medium. Saute, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt and white pepper.
- Add the cognac and cook for 1 minute. Add the wine and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is almost completely evaporated, about 8 minutes. Stir in the cream, ¾ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon white pepper. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl or measuring pitcher, pressing down on the solids to extract all the sauce. Wipe out the pan with a paper towel to remove any bits of shell and return the sauce to the pan. Taste and adjust the seasoning and set aside for up to 20 minutes. Reheat gently just before serving.
- In a small frying pan over low heat, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Add the lobster meat and cook, stirring occasionally, until warmed through, 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and cover to keep warm.
- Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Generously salt the boiling water, add the pasta, and cook until al dente, 9 to 10 minutes. Drain the pasta well, add it to the sauce, and toss to coat the pasta evenly. Add half the minced tarragon and toss again. Transfer to a large warmed bowl and scatter the lobster meat and the remaining tarragon on top. Serve at once.
NOTE: In the absence of a lobster shell, you can use 6 ounces shrimp in the shell, chopped coarsely with their shells on.