Shellfish Overload

Last night’s class was such a 180 from Tuesday night, and thank goodness because I really needed it.

First, we got our tests back and things continue to be good in that department, so that definitely started the night off on the right foot.

We had a small lecture about shellfish, but then we pretty much got right to cooking. It was an interesting night, because we had five recipes, but we did two at a time (usually we do one at a time) and we each did the fifth one ourselves. This meant that between my partner (Ron!) and me, we were basically each taking charge over one of the recipes in each rotation.

Our first recipes were a l’anglaise sauce for the lobster (to be made later) and scallops with a parsley coulis. Ron took on the lobster sauce, while I went ahead with the scallops. For his dish, he had to cut up lobster bodies (meat removed) and saute them with a variety of different veggies, before simmering with white wine, chicken stock, and canned tomatoes. My scallop dish was also pretty straightforward. I had to make the parsley coulis and then sear the scallops. Both his sauce and the scallops I made turned out very well. My parsely coulis was a bit thinner than I would have liked, but Chef actually didn’t think it was too far off.

Scallops With Parsley Coulis

Scallops With Parsley Coulis

Once we presented our lobster sauce and our scallops, chef demonstrated how to cook a lobster so that we could each cook a lobster for ourselves as dinner. Sounds amazing, right? Not so fast. First I had to murder the poor little thing. I felt a little better once chef told us that lobsters are the ocean’s equivalent of an over-developed cockroach. Ok, that’s gross enough to make me want to kill it, but so gross that it almost makes me not want to eat it!

Anyway, I got to work slaughtering my lobster (Fred…yes, he was a male) by stabbing him in the head while he was still alive and crawling around on my cutting board. Despite the cockroach pep talk, I still felt incredibly inhumane and squealed a little too loudly when the thing was still squirming around postmortem. It was so sad, but you gotta do what you gotta do. I tossed him in the boiling hot fish stock and there he cooked for 8 minutes.

Cooked Lobster

Cooked Lobster

Once he was done (I should stop humanizing him…), I cracked him open and plated him (Chef actually showed us some tricks to getting the meat out all in a few beautiful pieces) with the a l’anglaise sauce to finish.

Lobster A'Langlaise

Lobster A'Langlaise

As you can see, he was so delicious.

After dinner, we had two more recipes to make: steamed mussels with shallots, white wine, and parsley as well as Escargot Burgundy. Ron loves shellfish, so he took charge of the mussels. It worked out perfectly, because I have an unnatural obsession with escargot. Both dishes came together relatively quickly, were equally as tasty, and, best of all, received no criticism from both of our chef instructors. Maybe even better than that? Feasting on mussels and snails and then mopping up the buttery juices from both with a fresh baguette from the bread making class down the hall.

Steamed Mussels With White Wine, Shallots, and Parsley

Steamed Mussels With White Wine, Shallots, and Parsley

Escargot Burgundy

Escargot Burgundy

After  having more than our fair share of food, we learned how to shuck oysters and clams without cutting off our hands. I found it really laborious, and would have given up had I not been so excited to eat the darn things. When I finally pried the delicious raw goodies open, they were so worth it.

Even though I took a lot of the food home to donate to a boyfriend that orders too much take out, I still woke up this morning a little woozy from shellfish overload.

Tomorrow we move on to poultry. I don’t know how I feel about that. I’d much rather work with the fish and shellfish, but chicken is always a good thing to know better since it is so widely consumed. Plus, poultry also includes delicious things like duck…


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