SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)— Chef Peter Chastain from Prima Restaurant in Walnut Creek agreed to share his lobster with tarragon sauce recipe with us. It’s delicious and it dates back to the renaissance in Sienna, Italy.
It can be used for fish, meat or poultry. It can even be used as an element in other sauces. In the past, a wood spoon with ridges called a ‘frullino’ was used to stir this sauce to its texture. Today a mortar and pestle or a blender is used.
When it came to the table at his restaurant, I took my first taste. It had an elegant, pale color and I thought I had an avocado sauce on my palate. It certainly had a lush richness similar to that of an avocado. That was because there was olive oil really worked into the tarragon leaves.
For 6 Salads:
3 x 1.5lb. Maine Hard Shell Lobsters
Mixed Greens as desired
1 cup x Tarragon Sauce— see below
Cook lobsters from cold in plenty of well salted boiling water 6 minutes. Plunge them into 50% ice/ 50% water and allow them to chill for 30 minutes. Remove the tail and claw meat. Using a scissors, cut the faces with the antennae and roast them for 15 minutes at 400 degrees for garnish. Set aside and allow to cool. Save the bodies to use for lobster soup or sugo.
Ladle on to chilled plates about 1 ½ oz. tarragon sauce in a circle. Dress both the lobster meat and the greens separately with a simple vinaigrette of 3 parts extra virgin olive oil to 1 part red wine vinegar, minced shallot, salt and pepper. Arrange everything attractively on top of the tarragon sauce, garnish with the faces and serve immediately.
Makes approximately 1 cup
2 slices good country bread, crusts removed and coarsely torn
¼ cup best red wine vinegar— preferably made from Chianti
3 cloves garlic/ germ removed
1 – 2 bunches tarragon/ leaves only depending on pungency
¼ cup best extra virgin olive oil – preferably Tuscan.
1 tblsp. honey
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Soak the bread in the vinegar for 20 minutes— it should start to fall apart when stirred. Pound together with the remaining ingredients in a mortar and pestle until a smooth paste evolves or place everything in a blender. Adjust seasonings to your taste.
Narsai David is the KCBS Food and Wine Editor. He has been a successful restaurateur, chef, TV host, and columnist in the Bay Area spanning four decades. You can hear him Saturdays at 10:53am, 12:53pm and 4:53pm, and at 2:53am Sunday on KCBS All News 740AM and 106.9FM.