Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Lobster Egg Custard

The egg is somewhat symbolic of the new year - the beginning of a new cycle.

I also love love love cooking eggs.

Steamed egg custards have become extremely popular in top NYC restaurants. Brushstroke had one submerged in a sweet and savory dashi-based soup with a piece of uni floating on top, and North End Grill had a lobster one, that was more of a lobster bisque with lots of green onion and bonito flakes (They claimed that it had pieces of lobsters folded inside, but it didn't.)

I decided to make my own version that's a combination of the two.

It's a really simple dish, but because it's the holidays, I wanted to make it... a little more special.

I did what North End Grill claimed they did. I picked up 2 lobster tails, cut out the meat, rolled them around in hot butter, and put them at the bottom of my egg custard bowls (that need to be steam proof).

I wanted the lobster to have some fat clinging onto it, but given the steam time of 5-10 minutes, it should be cooked just from the steaming alone even when it's submerged in the egg liquid.

In a pot on the side, I recreated something similar to Brushstroke's sauce. I boiled some konbu (dried seaweed) and the lobster tail shells in a mixture of water and veggie stock, and then added soy sauce, mirin, sugar, and green onions. I let that boil for about 15 minutes before fishing the konbu and lobster tails out. And then I added a mixture of corn starch and cold water, and let it simmer to thicken.

The egg part is the simplest. I scrambled 4 eggs and added some green onions. In the usual version, you just add 1.5x water or stock to the egg mixture, combine, and steam for 5-10 minutes and you're done.  Even the green onions are optional. You can eat your custard with soy sauce or plain.

1.5x the egg mixture is about 2/3 of my stock. Since I made fresh stock, I had to let it cool before adding it to the egg mixture, or it would partially cook the egg, and the custard would no longer be silky smooth. If you want to be really fancy, you can strain the bubbles out, but I'm eating this with a sauce, and I really don't care.

I continued to simmer the remaining 1/3 of my stock so that the sauce would be nice and gooey and cover the bites of the custard nicely.

It puffed up while steaming probably because I left so many air bubbles inside. Oh well... But once you open the lid, it'll subside. I only steamed the custard for 10 minutes, because I cooked my 4 eggs in 2 batches. If you're not sure, just jiggle the pot a little. You can easily tell if it's set by the way the custard moves.

The custard is nice and flat once you uncover the lid. Here's a picture of it with a sauce! I guess it could be flatter. I took a knife and ran it around the edge of the bowl so that the sauce can seep in the side.

There was a piece of lobster in almost every bite. This is a dish best enjoyed hot. You can see the steam in the background of the picture.

Finally got a piece without lobster at the end. You can see the silky consistency of the egg custard - it's almost like silken tofu.

Now that we've had the egg... perhaps we'll have chicken next!

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