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Iron-Worthy Recipes

October 14, 1998

Some of the weapons Ron Siegel used to win "Battle Lobster."

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GRILLED LOBSTER SALAD WITH AVOCADO, TOMATO CONCASSE AND BASIL OIL

3 (1 1/2- to 2-pound) lobsters

Salt, pepper

Olive oil

4 tomatoes

5 bunches basil, chopped

Juice of 2 lemons

2 avocados

1/2 cup chopped chervil

1 cup chopped parsley

1/4 cup chopped tarragon

20 chive tips

Cut lobster claws from tails with knife. Cut lobster tails in half lengthwise, season with salt and pepper to taste, lightly brush with olive oil and set aside.

Place claws on hot grill (or grill pan over stove burner) and cook, turning occasionally, until claws turn reddish brown, about 15 minutes.

Grill lobster tails in same manner, about 3 minutes on shell side and 3 minutes on meat side. Set aside.

Blanch tomatoes in boiling water 10 seconds and place in bowl of ice to cool. Peel skins off tomatoes and dice. Place in strainer and press with back of spoon to get all liquid from tomatoes. Set aside.

Blanch basil in boiling salted water 10 seconds, remove to bowl of ice water to refresh, wring out excess water and place in food processor or blender with 1 cup olive oil. Puree 5 minutes. Pour liquid through strainer to catch pulp. Oil should be free of basil bits. Set oil aside and discard basil.

Remove lobster meat from tail and claws. Toss meat with lemon juice to taste and just enough olive oil to coat, about 2 tablespoons.

Toss drained, diced tomatoes with salt and pepper to taste and just enough olive oil to coat, about 2 tablespoons.

Peel avocados and slice in half, then cut halves into half-moons.

Artfully layer each serving plate with tomatoes, avocado slices, then lobster. Sprinkle chervil, parsley and tarragon on top. Drizzle with basil oil and arrange chive tips on plates.

4 servings. Each serving:

309 calories; 314 mg sodium; 69 mg cholesterol; 23 grams fat; 13 grams carbohydrates; 23 grams protein; 2.67 grams fiber.

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BUTTER-COOKED LOBSTER WITH SEARED FOIE GRAS, BRAISED ARTICHOKES, WILD MUSHROOMS, PORT AND FIG JUS

There are ways to simplify this dish if its many parts intimidate you. For instance, tasters in The Times Test Kitchen thought that the artichokes and mushrooms weren't essential to the success of the dish. And if you can't find foie gras, the dish works almost as well with the figs and the Port sauce. When you're done cooking the lobster in the extravagant four pounds of butter, don't throw the butter out. Keep the lobster butter in the refrigerator and use it to finish other sauces, to make compound butter or to add a couple tablespoons to rice that is being served with seafood. You can even smear it on bread. It's worth saving.

4 artichokes

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1 (750-milliliter) bottle Port

6 large figs

Freshly ground pepper

4 pounds plus 3 tablespoons butter

Salt

3 cups diced assorted wild mushrooms

1 bunch plus 1 tablespoon chopped thyme

3 cloves garlic

6 lobster tails

6 (2-ounce) pieces foie gras

Trim leaves, stems and chokes from artichokes, leaving only hearts. Cook in simmering water with lemon juice until tender, about 15 minutes. Remove and cut each heart into 6 slices. Set aside.

Cook Port over medium-high heat until reduced by two thirds, about 15 minutes. Add figs and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Remove figs and set aside. Add enough fresh black pepper to Port reduction that pepper flavor comes through, about 1/2 teaspoon, then stir in 1 tablespoon butter. Strain sauce. Taste and add salt if needed. Set aside.

Saute mushrooms with 2 tablespoons butter, 1 tablespoon chopped thyme and salt and pepper to taste over medium-high heat until tender, about 10 minutes. Remove and set aside.

Put 4 pounds butter in deep saucepan over medium-high heat. Mash garlic cloves and add along with 1 bunch thyme. When butter is melted, season lobster tails in shell with salt and pepper to taste, then add to butter and cook until meat turns opaque and shells curl and turn red, about 5 minutes. Remove with tongs and set aside to cool briefly.

Sear foie gras slices over high heat 30 seconds to 1 minute per side.

Arrange artichoke slices and mushrooms in middle of each serving plate. Set poached figs on top, then lobster, then foie gras. Drizzle plate with Port sauce and serve.

6 servings. Each serving:

502 calories; 830 mg sodium; 139 mg cholesterol; 30 grams fat; 25 grams carbohydrates; 25 grams protein; 2.84 grams fiber.

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LOBSTER CUSTARD WITH CAVIAR

The custard is cooked in egg shells, and an egg carton is the perfect thing to hold them upright in the water as they poach. It must be a cardboard, rather than a plastic, carton.

1 cup milk

1 cup cream

1/2 cup Lobster Stock

Salt, pepper

1 dozen eggs

1 ounce Beluga or other caviar

2 pounds rock salt, optional

1 pound mixed spices (fresh bay leaves and peppercorns), optional

Bring milk and cream to boil with Lobster Stock. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Take 3 eggs and cut off tops of small ends with kitchen shears or sharp knock of large knife. Put yolks and whites in bowl. Set empty shell cups aside.

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