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Champagne & Butter-Poached Maine Lobster with Santa Barbara Red Sea Urchin Sauce

Chef Robert Perez
Seagrass Restaurant



3 lobsters

2 qt water

1 lemon, juiced

1 onion, cut into 8 pieces

8 black peppercorns, crushed

2 bay leaves

1 cup white wine


With a large heavy chef’s knife, make a quick and sure incision through the head of the lobsters at the point where the two lines cross, and press the knife on through the front of the head.

Remove the claws by cutting through the crease in the arm shell closest to the body. Remove rubber bands. Remove the tail from the body. With a kitchen towel, grasp the telson, (the center piece of the tail fan), twist it a quarter turn one direction and then the other and carefully pull and remove the vein. If you do this correctly, the vein will remain connected to the telson and you will have no need to split open the tail, maintaining the
integrity of the tail for presentation.

Place the aromatics in a large pot and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat and allow the temperature to decrease to 190°F. Prepare an ice bath large enough to hold the tails and claws. Place the tails and claws in the hot water and poach the tails for two minutes, removing and placing in the ice bath.

Allow the claws to poach for four more minutes, remove and place into the ice bath as well. Allow to chill for several minutes and remove them from the bath.

To remove the tail meat from shell, using a kitchen towel, hold the tail in your hand with the belly facing up. Use a pair of kitchen shears, and cut along both sides of the shell and peel off the belly. You can then easily remove the tail meat from the shell.

For the claw meat, use the heel of your heavy knife and make a crack on both sides of the claw, and then holding the claw with only the pincer against the cutting board, make a quick and sure crack in the shell, and with the knife heel still in the shell, make a quick flick of the wrist to pop off the back end of the shell. Take great care not to damage the flesh of the claw while performing this action. Grab the pincer and pull it first side to side to loosen and then pull down, away from the claw to remove. Ideally the cartilage will remain attached to the pincer shell and the meat will remain intact. Now pull the claw meat out of the shell.

To remove the meat from the knuckles, use your kitchen scissors to cut along both sides of the crease in the shell. Carefully peel open the shell and remove the knuckle meat in one piece. Wash all of the lobster meat in ice water and place on a kitchen towel to dry. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. As a note, keep the lobster meat in a bowl on an ice bath while you are working through the cleaning and removal process.

To prepare the bodies, split the heads open and discard the antenna and the ‘queen’, a little bag at the front of the head which contains impurities. Save the dark green roe for the sauce. The dark green roe is what you are looking for, but be sure to discard the light green ‘tomalley’. Rinse all the shells with cold water.

[Lobster Stock]

1/4 cup olive oil

3 lobster bodies

2 shallots, peeled and chopped

1 cup celery stock, sliced

1 cup carrot, peeled and diced

4 garlic cloves

1 cup fennel bulb, chopped

2 Tbsp tomato paste

2 tsp curry powder

2 star anise, cracked

10 black pepper corns, cracked

1 tsp saffron

1 lb tomatoes, chopped

1/2 cup sherry, Manzanilla or Fino

1/2 cup Cognac

3 Tbsp Pernod

2 qt water


In a large rondeau (deep braising pan), heat olive oil over high heat until it begins to smoke. Add the lobster shells and sauté until they begin to color, stirring often. Do not over-fill the pan, as you need to keep the heat high.

Add in the vegetables and sauté until caramelized. Add tomato paste and curry, allow to sauté for a moment, add tomatoes, stir, then add aromatics and deglaze with the sherry, Cognac and Pernod. Carefully flambé the liqueur, then add water. Temper the heat to medium and gently simmer the stock for 2 hours.

Strain stock through a fine mesh strainer into a sauce pan and reduce by half. Strain and chill.

[Beurre Monte]

1/2 cup white wine

2 Tbsp champagne vinegar

12 oz unsalted butter

Pinch of sea salt

Pinch of cayenne pepper

A few drops of lemon juice


Bring wine and champagne to a boil and reduce to approximately 1/4 cup. Remove from heat and whisk in the butter to achieve an emulsification. If necessary carefully reheat the pan as you go in order to emulsify the butter. Season to taste. Keep warm at 130°F.

[Sea Urchin Emulsion]

4 Tbsp olive oil

1 shallot, peeled and diced

1 garlic clove, peeled and crusted

1 tsp tomato paste

3 Tbsp Manzanilla sherry

1/2 cup lobster stock

1/2 cup heavy cream

4 sea urchin corals, use the small and broken pieces

2 oz butter


In a sauce pan, heat the olive oil. Add shallot and garlic and allow to lightly caramelize. Add tomato paste and sweat. Deglaze with sherry. Reduce to dry. Add lobster stock and cream. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and reduce by half. Stain sauce and place in a blender with the urchin roe and butter. Blend on high until smooth, strain through a fine mesh strainer and keep warm.

[Potato Butter]

1/2 tsp arrowroot powder

1/2 cup vegetable stock

4 oz mashed potato

3 oz lightly salted butter

Pinch of sea salt and fresh ground nutmeg


Mix the arrowroot in cold vegetable stock. Place the butter, potatoes and vegetable stock in a small pot and bring to a boil over medium heat stirring gently. Season to taste and save in a warm spot. Adjust the consistency as necessary.


18 baby turnips, peeled, and blanched

2 oz caramelized cauliflower rosettes

2 oz wild baby arugula

1 oz unsalted butter

2 Tbsp vegetable stock


Slice each lobster tail into 4 medallions and place along with the claws and knuckles in the beurre monte. Poach for approximately 10 minutes or until warm. With a spoon, fan a small amount of potato butter onto 6 pre-warmed plates.

Warm the turnips and cauliflower in butter with the vegetable stock, add the arugula and heat just long enough to wilt. Place the vegetables in the middle of the warm plates.

Arrange 2 tail medallions on the vegetables and top with a claw and knuckle. Using a Bamix staff mixer, emulsify the sauce. Spoon the lobster sea urchin sauce around the plate. If desired, use a whole urchin gonad on each plate as well. Serve immediately.

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