Valentine’s day dinner バレンタインデーディナー

japanese cake

For Valentine’s day, we did not go out for dinner but instead, baked live lobsters stuffed with crab meat in Bechamel sauce. The live lobsters were from Lobsters New England as before.

We started with sparkling wine from Domain Chandon Vintage brute (2007). This is rather assertive California sparkling wine with crisp acidity with apple and melon notes.  I even garnished the sparkling wine with strawberries.

I prepared the lobsters exactly the same way as I did before. I quickly dispatched them by cutting the head segments in half.  Since the lobsters were rather small (1 1/4 lb), instead of halving the tail, I removed the tail as one piece and removed the shell from the underside and loosen the meat. I removed the claws and cleaned the head segments leaving the tomalley. I adjusted the baking time a bit from the last time (at 400F, I started with the claws and baked them for 8 minutes before addling the tails and halved head segments and baked them for 5 minutes. I them stuffed the head segments and coated the tail meat with a mixture of crab meat in Bechamel sauce. I then covered the lobster with a mixture of panko bread crumbs, olive oil, chopped fresh tarragon, and grated parmesan cheese.* I baked for an additional 10 minutes.

* Since I shortened the baking time after I put on the panko mixture, I pre-browned the bread crumbs in a frying pan before addling to the lobsters.

While we were waiting for the lobsters to cook, I served the remaining big eye tuna we got with the live lobsters. As I described, this tuna was not perfectly fresh and I did a “Yubiki” treatment and made “zuke” and “poke” the day before. This time, I just served the tuna as straightforward sashimi. I served it with daikon namasu on the bed of baby arugula and also made a small side dish of fresh okra

Although I knew my wife does not like okra, this okra was one of the best and most unblemished okra I have seen in our regular grocery store for some time. So I couldn’t help it. It bought it. After I scrubbed the surface with salt, I washed it and parboiled it for 30 seconds and then plunged it into ice water. I removed the stem end and chopped it finely. I mixed it with dry bonito flakes (kezuri bushi 削り節 or katuso bushi 鰹節) and seasoned it with soy sauce. I garnished it with thin rounds of okra.

I thought the addition of dried bonito flakes helped to cut the sliminess of the okra but my wife did not particularly think that was the case and suggested the addition of strong vinegar. Oh well, I tried.

For comparison, the below is the same tuna but after marinating in soy sauce/sake/mirin mixture in the style of “zuke” which we had the night before.

Once, the Yubiki process was added, the tuna was quite good in zuke or sashimi.

After the sashimi, we enjoyed the crab meat stuffed lobsters. Of course, I made lobster bisque next day (I even bought two previously frozen lobster tails and steamed them for the bisque).

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