Yesterday I was talking about lawyers in my crime novels. But ‘Moss Reid’ mysteries are also about food. Hence there’s a recipe for Dublin Lawyer that didn’t quite make it into my new novel Ghost Flight.
This dish is much easier and quick to prepare than the more famous Lobster Thermidor, and is lighter too: it’s basically lobster cooked in Irish whiskey (sorry, Scotch won’t do) and a modest amount of cream.
Nobody quite knows how the dish got its name, because while it’s rich, expensive, decadent and full of booze, whatever could the connection with a Dublin lawyer be?
1. The ingredients for Dublin Lawyer
- 1 fresh lobster
- 1/2 a cup of butter
- 1/2 a cup of Irish whiskey
- 1/2 a cup of double cream
That’s the basics. Other options include a twist of fresh juice from a lemon perhaps. A teaspoon of dried mustard. Some salt and pepper of course. Some chopped chives or parsley or wild garlic leaves to garnish.
2. Brief aside: a quick rant about Lidl lobsters
I’m also assuming that the lobster is already cooked – and that it’s a fresh one in its shell, not one of those horrible frozen lumps you get nowadays in the German supermarket chains.
The one I had once from Lidl’s “Luxury For All” range was a disappointing thing called something like “Homarus Americanus – Star of the Sea”, which is very un-live, very frozen, very pre-cooked and very tiny.
Hardly a foot long, little more than an overambitious Dublin Bay Prawn that was getting far too big for its boots, a watery load of rubbish and certainly not worth the “Serves 2″ bit on the packaging. After that I said never again. Apart from that, Lidl has some great stuff nowadays.
3. The recipe in eight easy steps
- Slice the lobster in half lengthwise. Pretend it’s your least favourite lawyer. Take great glee in cracking open its claws with the back of your chef’s knife or a hammer (suitably cleaned) from your toolbox.
- Remove all the flesh – a metal skewer is good for this – and cut it into large chunks.
- Keep both halves of the main body shell for serving. I’d also hold onto the rest of the shells – the legs and claws and so on are superb for making fish stock later.
- Put the butter in a large frying pan over a medium heat until it starts to foam, but make sure it doesn’t go brown and burn.
- Quickly sauté the lobster chunks in the butter for a couple of minutes, until warmed through but not coloured.
- Add the whiskey (you could warm it up slightly in a separate wee pot). When the whiskey has heated up in the pan, set light to it.
- Let the flames die down, turn off the smoke alarm, pour in the cream, heat briefly for a few more seconds. Add the squirt of lemon and optional mustard.
- Season and put back into the half shell. Place it under a hot grill for about two minutes until the sauce is bubbling.
4. How to eat it
Garnish if you like (chives, parsley etc) and serve with fresh lemon wedges, baby new potatoes, a mixed salad, a crusty fresh baguette and a creamy pint of stout. Forks a must, knives optional.
5. Or if you prefer Lobster Thermidor…
Nobody is sure of its origins, but Dublin Lawyer is much, much older than its French cousin, Lobster Thermidor.
The latter was created in 1894 by Marie’s, a Paris restaurant near the theatre Comédie Française. It was supposed to honour a new play called Thermidor by Victorien Sardou.
The play went on to be a roaring failure, unlike the dish, which must be the best known lobster platter in the world. Here’s how Sir Hugh Eats-It-All does it…