I remember the first time I had Lobster Flambé. It was a day, much like today, on Canada’s East Coast, where the city moved slowly after a full night of sleeting, snowfall, and freezing rain. I was with a friend in downtown Halifax. People were skipping and jumping over snow banks and puddles of slush while bumper-to-bumper traffic inched down the road.
The damp cold on Canada’s East Coast has the tendency to soak into your bones. Sometimes, you can feel the pain long after you’ve gone inside. We ducked into one of our favourite restaurants to escape the frigid air. Economy Shoe Shop was a small hole-in-the-wall restaurant built between two alleyways. The vibe was always a little dingy, but the food and staff were incredible.
I ordered Lobster Flambé. After my first spoonful, I called the server over to ask what this rich, creamy dish was cooked in. “Brandy” – she replied. I was hooked.
It took me a long time to figure out how to replicate this dish at home. Since I obviously did not have access to the recipe from the restaurant, all I could do was work with the few obvious ingredients visible in theirs. Economy Shoe Shop has since removed the lobster flambé from their menu, so I’m happy I have a similar version at home to keep me content.
Recipe for Lobster Flambé:
1 1.5 Pound Atlantic Lobster
1.5 Cups Brandy
1/2 Cup Tidal Bay White Wine
1/2 Cup Heavy Cream
2 Shallots (Diced)
2 Cloves of Garlic (Minced)
2-3 Oyster Mushrooms (Sliced)
1/3 Red Pepper (Julienned)
1 Handful of Fresh Tarragon (Removed From Stem)
2-3 Tablespoons of Butter
Kosher Salt (To Taste)
Cayenne Pepper (Just a Dash)
Instructions for Lobster Flambé :
1: Melt butter in a deep pan over medium-high heat. Once your butter is melted and frothy, drop shallots, garlic, and fresh tarragon into the pan. Saute for 2-3 minutes.
2: Add lobster, oyster mushrooms, and red pepper to the pan. Increase heat to high, shake the pan, ensuring your lobster and vegetables are coated in butter.
3: Pour brandy into the pan, swirling vigorously. If brandy does not ignite, carefully place a lit match close to the pan. Be careful, a large flame will erupt quickly. Shake your pan back and forth over the element until the flame burns out.
4: Pour in white wine, cream, cayenne pepper, and kosher salt. Stir, and reduce heat. Allow your pan to simmer for 8-10 minutes, or until liquid has reduced by about 50%.
5: Taste, and add additional salt if required.
Serve with fresh tarragon leaves and a splash of fresh cream.