Here’s the recipe as listed in the book. My notes and substitutions are in parentheses.
- 2 spiny lobsters, weighing 400/500 g each (I used one 1.2 kg Maine lobster)
- 2 Cona Coffee Makers (I used one Yama Coffee Siphon Vacuum Pot, with a refillable butane burner)
- 1 chive flower (could not find a suitable substitute)
- 30 g marsh samphire (15 g Chinese long beans)
- 30 g wild asparagus (15 g store-bought asparagus)
- 2 calendula flowers (pinch saffron threads)
- 2 baby leeks (one mature leek, but only the green inner parts)
- 4 leaves dwarf basil (2 leaves sweet basil)
- 4 garlic chives (2 garlic chives)
Start by preparing the lobster stock. Humanely kill the lobster by slicing through the brain lengthwise. Dip the lobster into boiling water for 15 seconds so the meat will separate from the shell; do not cook the meat. Cut off the tail and big claws. Separate the tail meat from the shell, cut each tail into 8 lobster tail medallions, and reserve the meat. Drop the big claws back into the boiling water and cook until done.
Cut the remaining body in half, lengthwise. Rinse out the brains and guts, remove the gills. Dry fry the body in a pan until the insides are golden brown (I fried it with some olive oil).
The original lobster stock recipe infuses 800 g of water with two lobster heads and some salt at 95 deg C for 2.5 hours. I placed my one lobster head and tail shell into 600 g of water and infused at 95 deg C for 2.5 hours. I forgot the salt. I used a rice cooker and PID controller to maintain my 95 deg C infusion temperature.
Mise en place. On the left, boiled lobster claws and lobster tail medallions. On the right, starting at 12 o’clock, green inner-part of leek, asparagus, basil, long beans, garlic chives, saffron threads in middle. Wrap in saran wrap, leave in refrigerator while the stock cooks.
After 2.5 hours, pour the hot stock into the bottom of the coffee siphon. The stock should be close to 95 deg C so that it won’t take long to boil once it’s at the table. Place the veggies and lobster into the top of the siphon.
Assemble the siphon, bring tableside.
Turn on the flame and wait for the stock to rise into the upper part of the chamber. Cook for 2-3 minutes, then turn the flame off. The coffee siphon is a fun tableside presentation. The liquid starts in the bottom. As it begins to boil, the steam has no where to go and the vapor pressure forces the liquid into the upper chamber. When the flame is reduced or turned off, the vapor pressure subsides and the liquid rushes back into the lower chamber, infused with all of the flavor of the ingredients in the upper chamber. The roar of the butane burner and the heat of the open flame really make it a theatrical presentation.
This is probably the most fun thing I’ve made so far. It tastes great – the lobster is tender and the broth is flavorful, light, and refreshing. This certainly is an entertaining and impressive presentation. If you have a coffee vacuum siphon, give it a shot, you won’t be disappointed.
Through the magic of the internet, you can see how it’s actually made at Akelarre below. I hope one day I’ll be fortunate enough to visit San Sebastian, Spain.