This holiday season give yourselves the ultimate gourmet gift: stay in with your sweetheart, drink a bottle of champagne, and savor our winter feast. It’s as delicious as a restaurant meal, and a lot less expensive. The season comes but once a year so celebrate in style.
Blood Orange & Butter-Poached Lobster Tails
Serve the tails with Truffled Mashed Potatoes and a salad of peppery winter greens, lightly dressed with a lemon dressing.
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2 lobster tails, frozen raw or pre-cooked
1/4 cup (or more) blood orange juice*
1/4 cup (or more) unsalted butter, cubed
1 to 2 tablespoons fresh tarragon, chopped
1. Defrost the frozen tails in cold water for about 10 minutes, depending on size. If using pre-cooked tails, bring them to room temperature and skip to step 3.
2. Fill a saucepan with enough water to come about halfway up the sides of the tails. Cover and bring to a boil. Place the defrosted tails in the water, cover, and steam just until they turn bright red, 2 to 5 minutes. They should still be translucent, not cooked through. Remove and let cool just enough to be handled. They need to be fairly hot so the shells remove easily. Pour remaining liquid from the saucepan into a measuring cup and set aside.
3. Using kitchen shears and your hands, carefully remove the shells, leaving the fans on the end.
4. To prepare the poaching liquid: measure the amount of reserved liquid from step 2. Note the volume and discard the reserved liquid. (If using pre-cooked tails, place them in the saucepan and pour in enough water to come halfway up the tails). Measure this water and discard.
5. Divide the amount of liquid you measured in step 4 in half; that is how much blood orange juice you will need. Pour the juice into the saucepan and heat over medium-low until it begins to steam. Add butter one cube at a time to the hot juice, whisking after each addition. When all the butter has been incorporated, add salt to taste and reduce heat to low.
6. Place the tails in the butter mixture and add chopped tarragon. Baste the tails with butter, cover, and cook over very low heat until just opaque, about 5 to 7 minutes. If using pre-cooked tails, just heat them through. Baste every minute or so. Serve immediately, drizzling a few tablespoons of poaching liquid on the plate.
*If you can’t find blood oranges or unsweetened blood orange juice, use freshly squeezed orange juice spiked with a couple teaspoons unsweetened pomegranate juice.
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Truffled Mashed Potatoes
Splurge on fresh truffles now arriving from Italy and France and make your own truffle butter for a deeply rich and elegant dish.
1/2 to 1 ounce grated truffles
(wash thoroughly before grating)*
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room
temperature OR 4 tablespoons truffle
1 pound russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 tablespoons half and half or milk
Truffle oil (optional)
1. To make the truffle butter: mix the grated truffles into the 2 tablespoons of butter and set aside for one hour.
2. In a saucepan, cook potatoes in boiling water until very tender but not falling apart. Drain well.
3. Return the potatoes to the pan and mash well with a potato masher (a sturdy whisk also works). Stir in the truffle butter until combined, add half and half or milk, a tablespoon at a time, until the potatoes are fluffy.
4. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
5. To amp up the the truffle flavor, drizzle the potatoes with about a 1/2 teaspoon of truffle oil before serving.
*Fresh truffles, truffle butter, and truffle oil can be found online at plantin.com, allthingstruffle.com, gourmetfoodshop.com and deanandeluca.com, as well as most gourmet shops.
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