When you treat yourself to such a luxurious ingredient you really need to make it the star of the show! This lobster wellington recipe is inspired by a dish from Claridge’s and has a few steps to it, but they are all simple to execute and the effort is definitely worth it. Using a pre-cooked lobster also helps to save some time! This dish is perfect for two people to share, but can also be sliced and served as a starter or as part of a larger spread to feed more people. Serve some simple green beans alongside to complete the meal.
Serves 2 as a main course Cooking Time: 1 hr 30mins (plus 1hr resting time)
For the wellington:
2 ready rolled sheets of all butter puff pastry
130g raw jumbo king prawns (around 4 prawns)
1 large egg white
150ml double cream
Small handful of tarragon
1 egg yolk for glazing
For the Sauce:
½ onion, sliced
1 stick celery, sliced
½ bulb fennel, sliced
1 carrot, sliced
1 bay leaf
A few sprigs of tarragon
500ml chicken stock
2 tbsp flour
40 g butter
200ml white wine
1 tbsp tomato puree
Defrost the lobster and prawns.
First make the prawn mousse, remove the tails from the prawns and reserve them in a bowl for later. Place the prawns and egg white in a food processor, blend until it forms a paste. Next, using the pulse function, gradually add the cream until blended in; stir in the tarragon and season with a good pinch of salt. Transfer to a bowl, cover and put in the fridge until needed.
Separate the tail from the lobster. Using a pair of kitchen scissors, carefully cut down the underside of the tail to split it open (don’t cut through the fin of the tail as you’ll need this for decoration later), remove the tail meat being careful to keep it in one piece, then cut off the tail fin and set aside, put the rest of the shell in the bowl with the prawn tails.
Next remove the head of the lobster, spoon the contents of the head into the bowl with the shells, set the head aside with the tail fin to use for decoration later.
Using the back of a kitchen knife, carefully crack the lobster claws and remove the meat, keeping it as whole as possible (don’t worry if it breaks a little, you can rearrange it back into shape when you build the wellington); crack the knuckles and remove the leg meat as well. Add the shells to the bowl with the tail shell and head contents. Put the lobster meat into the fridge while you start making the sauce.
Heat the butter in a pan over a medium heat, add the lobster shells and prawn tails (apart from the head and tail fin). Fry for around 5 minutes until the butter starts to brown and the shells smell fragrant. Deglaze the pan with half the wine then add the vegetables and cook for 5 minutes.
Next stir in the tomato puree, followed by the flour then add the rest of the wine, chicken stock and the herbs and cloves. Bring to the boil then turn the heat down and simmer for 40 minutes.
While the sauce is cooking build your wellington. Place one sheet of puff pastry on a piece of baking paper. Using a piping bag, pipe some of the prawn mousse (about 1/3) onto the pastry in the shape of a lobster. Next, arrange the lobster meat on top of the mousse, then pipe the rest of the mousse to cover the lobster meat. Brush around the filling with a little egg yolk
Carefully place the second sheet of pastry on top and cut two openings where the head and tail fin would be. Position the reserved head and tail fin in the holes then press the pastry around them to secure; use the sides of your hands to press the two sheets of pastry together all around the filling.
Cut off the excess pastry so you are left with the shape of the lobster and about a 1cm border, using a fork crimp around the edges of the wellington. Use some of the pastry cut-offs to decorate around the base of the head and the tail and fill any gaps. Brush the whole wellington with egg yolk and place in the fridge for at least an hour or until ready to cook.
Strain the sauce through a fine sieve into a clean saucepan, making sure to really squeeze the vegetables to get as much flavour as possible (you can also use a potato masher to crush the vegetables in the pan before straining). Season to taste with sea salt.
Pre-heat the oven to 230ºC and place a tray in the oven to heat up. Place the lobster wellington with the baking paper directly onto the hot tray in the oven. Reduce the oven to 200ºC and bake for around 20 minutes until the pastry is puffed up and golden brown.
Bring the sauce to the boil. Transfer your lobster wellington on a serving platter and serve the sauce on the side.