It’s enough to scare away all but the very wealthiest of diners. Usually, when lobster is offered on a restaurant’s menu, it’s accompanied by these two intimidating words.
They essentially say, “If you have to ask how much the lobster is, you can’t afford it.”
Occasionally, however, lobster will show up in the local supermarket at much more reasonable price. This was the case this week, when our local mega-chain grocery store advertised whole lobsters for only $4.99/each.
Granted, they turned out to be tiny farm-raised, previously cooked and frozen. Each whole lobster weighed less than a pound, so that meant they would yield only about 8 oz of lobster meat or less.
Still, it was enough of a bargain to get me thinking of how to turn very little lobster into a very flavorful dish.
“I’ve got it!” I thought. “Lobster ravioli!”
Lobster ravioli — or any ravioli for that matter — allows you to infuse the flavor of the main ingredient into the dish without having to spend a lot of money on food cost. This is especially helpful when it comes to high-cost items, such as truffles, foie gras and, yes, lobsters.
In restaurants, we used to use the claw meat from whole lobsters for ravioli — and lobster bisque — while the meatier tails were steamed and served with drawn butter for, you guessed it, market price, which was usually about $24.99 and up.
Of course, we used live, wild-caught lobsters that weighed at least two pounds each.
Apparently, even the cost of wild-caught lobsters is coming down thanks to a lobster glut. Lobstermen in Maine reportedly have been opting to keep their boats in port rather than harvesting lobsters that sell for less in the open market.
Lobster ravioli is a way of having your lobster and eating it, too. That’s because it only requires a very small amount of lobster meat that gets mixed with other ingredients — in this case ricotta cheese, sauteed onions, garlic and parsley — to give you a much higher yield.
I used homemade raviolis, but you could just as easily buy fresh or frozen wonton wrappers. Even pierogi dough would work pretty well.
I served mine with a spicy tomato cream sauce and garnished it with some fresh chopped parsley.
1 TBS Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 White Onion, small dice
1 Garlic Clove, crushed
2 TBS Fresh Parsley, chopped (Plus more for garnish)
Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
4 to 6 oz Lobster Meat, cooked
3/4 cup Fresh Low-Fat Ricotta Cheese (or cottage cheese)
Dash Worchestershire Sauce
Dash Hot Sauce
1 lb Fresh Pasta Dough (or fresh or frozen Wonton Wrappers or Pierogi dough)
1. Place a medium cast iron skillet over a medium heat. When hot, add EVOO. When smoking, add onioin and cook until slightly carmelized, about five minutes, stirring frequently. Add garlic and cook just until fragrant, about one minute. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
2. Place onion mixture, lobster, ricotta and parsley in a food processor. Season with salt and pepper, Worchestershire and hot sauce and pulse until a chunky paste. Tranfser to a mixing bowl and refrigerate until ready to use.
3. Use a pasta machine to roll pasta dough out into thin sheets. Place on a ravioli mold, use plastic peice to make indentations, then fill each with about 1 tsp of the lobster mixture. Place a second pasta sheet over the top and roll a rolling pin over to cut into individual raviolis. Lay out on a floured sheet pan, refrigerate and let air dry for one hour. Then flip each ravioli over and dry the other side for another hour. At this point, the ravioli can be frozen for later use.
4. Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Add ravioli one at a time, return to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for approximately 8 minutes. Remove ravioli, drain and toss lightly with butter, salt and pepper. Serve immediately with either a storebought tomato sauce, browned butter or simply olive oil.
For my tomato cream sauce, I simply sauteed some onions, green pepper and mushrooms until soft, hit it with about 1 cup of canned chopped tomatoes, 1 tsp sugar, S&P, 1/2 tsp fennel seed and a pinch of red pepper flake.
I let it cook down until the sugars started to carmelize a little then transferred the mixture to the food processor, pureed it, passed it through a sieve back into a sauce pan and put it back on the fire.
Finally, I whisked in about 1/4 cup fat-free half and half and balanced it with S&P. Just before serving, I finished it by whisking in about 1 TBS whole butter, then drizzled it over the ravioli.
Just like downtown!